How to create a high-performing team

Jun 12, 2019

A ‘high-performing team’ is a term that is often thrown around in the workplace. But what is it and how do you make one?

In an interview with The Harvard Business Review, the Head of Industry at Google Paul Santagata revealed the results of his two-year study into team performance.

His study found that high-performing teams have one thing in common – the belief that you won’t be punished when you make a mistake.

“There’s no team without trust,” stated Santagata.

Trust allows employees to feel that they can take moderate risks, speak their mind and be creative, all without fearing your ideas may not be taken seriously or considered dumb.

“In Google’s fast-paced, highly demanding environment, our success hinges on the ability to take risks and be vulnerable in front of peers.”

All of this falls into feeling safe at work – mentally safe – or as Santagata refers to it, psychological safety.

So how do you make your employees feel mentally safe at work?

Santagata suggests a number of ways you can go about this in his interview, including tips on how to approach conflict.

Avoid triggering a ‘fight-or-flight’ response – focus on achieving a mutually desirable outcome, rather than trying to win the argument. When you have to meet with someone who has made a mistake, accept before you go into the meeting that you don’t know the full story, and listen to them with an open mind.

Take away blame – instead of accusing someone for making a mistake, come to them with a solutions-based approach to find out how you can best support them and come up with a plan on how to face the situation together.

Speak human to human in challenging conversations, remember that everyone deserves respect and came to work wanting to achieve a positive result just like you.

As a manager, it’s also critical that you set the standard for your employees and demonstrate the team culture you’re aiming for. This includes taking regular breaks, leaving on time, and avoiding emailing and making work calls after hours. This will help show your employees what you expect of them.

Find out more mental health tips for managers

The five dimensions that deliver high-performance – Forbes

Looking after yourself and staying well 


Adults working together

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