The Three Signposts of a High Performing Team

June 29, 2022

by Management Dynamics

High Performing teams are deliberately designed to harness the collaborative intelligence of all team members.

They have higher levels of interdependence and consistently produce results that are greater than just the sum of the individuals in the team.

One of the most commonly asked questions that teams ask when approaching team development is “When do we know we have reached high performance?”.

Quantifying team dynamics is hard, but we developed a diagnostic tool to help determine where you are on your journey to high performance. You can try a lite version of the tool here.

There are also 3 key signposts that indicate whether a team is at good or high performance:

High Performing Teams have Higher Levels of Trust


Good teams can depend on other team members to “get the job done” and complete tasks assigned to them. When given a task, team leaders can rely on their team members to complete that task in a timely and professional manner.

In high performing teams, team members contribute willingly in discussions, knowing they might be challenged and welcoming the challenge when it comes. Team members know their own weaknesses and are confident in asking for assistance from others in the team. The team works more efficiently and achieves better results as they are able to respond to problems more quickly and effectively.

There’s no quick fix for building trust within a team – but without high levels of trust, sustainable high performance as a team is not possible.

Good Teams are led by Good Leaders, Great Teams are led by Everyone


In good teams decisions are made with the team present, and there is some discussion, but decision-making is typically directed by the leader and maybe one other team member.

Whilst this is good in communicating what decisions have been made to the rest of the team, team members are not aligned and less likely to champion ideas as it is not a decision they were involved in making.

High performing teams invite discussions and inclusion from all team members, giving a wider range of perspectives. Ideas are built-upon by each team member, resulting in a decision which is better than any one individual could have produced. This process results in better decisions, fosters inclusion and helps align team members to the decisions that are made, increasing commitment to those decisions.

Good Teams Avoid Destructive Conflict, High Performing Teams Harness the Power of Constructive Challenge


Good teams have a level of understanding about each other’s personal values. They are respectful to each other’s views which helps to manage conflict when it occurs.

It is an innate human behaviour to treat conflict as something to avoid – it prevents uncomfortable situations and ensures working relationships aren’t damaged.

Speaking up and voicing challenge in a way that avoids personal critique is one of the biggest differentiators between a good and high performing team.

Championing constructive challenge is an advanced level team skill; it does not happen by chance, it happens by design.

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