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How to lead a high-performance team

A famous African proverb says, “if you want to go fast, go alone, but if you want to go far, go together.” Without a doubt, this is sage advice. 

Teamwork and team leadership skills are vital for success in any area of life, but particularly in organizations. Companies that take a longterm view of the future foster collaboration among their employees and provide coordination among different departments and divisions. 

However, high-performance teams differentiate themselves from other types of teamsWhile most teams share a project and common goals, the bonds among team members usually stop there. 

Highperformance teamgo beyond thisTheir members are closely allied, generating high levels of performance and value. Four pillars sustain them: trust, communication, coordination and cooperation.  

Characteristics of high performing teams

A common purpose 

All members should be highly aligned to the same objective and seek to reach this at the highest level of efficacy.   

Diversity of talent 

A high-performance team includes different profilesThe more points of view there are, the better the course of action and results achieved. 

Defined roles 

While cultural and professional diversity increases the success of a highperformance teameach member of the group should also clearly understand of his or her own role, as well as the roles of others on the team. 

Leadership and mutual trust 

A leader is essential. The conduct and the words of the leader should always be exemplary and motivating. But leadership cannot be forced – it emerges from the dynamics of the group itself and inspires commitment, initiative and excellence at all times.  

Fluid communication 

Communication generates trust. In turn, trust increases performance. Fluid communication is key for creating synergies when devising solutions as a team. Cooperation arises through communication.  

Effective conflict management 

Diversity can also increase the risk for disagreements, conflict and communication breakdowns, especially when working in complex, dynamic and fast-paced environments. But differences can be overcome through trust, acceptation, respect, courtesy and understanding.   

Ability to make proposals and decisions 

On highperformance teams, members need a certain level of autonomy to make decisions about their work. The company sets the objectives, but if members of the team feel unable to maneuver, their implication and commitment will be significantly affected.  


Success should lead to rewards. Acknowledgement will strengthen employees’ motivation and ensure that they work more contentedly and, consequently, more efficiently.  

alto rendimiento equipos

Being able to create the right conditions for highperformance teams will boost the performance of the team members. Consequently, the results achieved will be greater than the simple sum of the members’ individual abilities. At the same time, the work environment and feeling of belonging will be enhanced. 

Discover the 13 questions to find out if you are a good leader.

IESE’s broad array of top-ranked Executive Education programs cover formats and topics that will further help you become the best team manager you can be. 


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