Leading isn’t easy. Every person in a team is different, and change is constant. Yet, there’s one thing that remains the same: we all share a common set of needs. Understanding these needs can help leaders cultivate teams that are engaged and effective.
The 4 pillars of high-performing teams
We’ve uncovered some clear themes in our work with organizations and community partnerships. Teams accomplish more when there is 1) clarity, 2) support, 3) empathy, and 4) trust. Clarity and support help ensure people have the knowledge and resources needed to operate successfully. Empathy and trust provide meaning and motivation, which inspire people to do their best work.
Whether assessing your organizational culture or giving performance feedback, this framework can serve as a guide. Here are some key questions to ask yourself (or better yet, your team!):
Pillar #1: Clarity
How well does your team:
- Understand what’s expected of them?
- Know how they’re performing?
- See how their work contributes to the organization’s mission?
Pillar #2: Support
To what extent does your team have:
- The information needed to achieve their goals?
- The resources needed to work efficiently and effectively?
- Opportunities for professional development?
Pillar #3: Empathy
How frequently does your team:
- Welcome and consider different perspectives?
- Experience compassion and gratitude?
- Recognize how their work helps others?
Pillar #4: Trust
Does your team feel they:
- Are treated fairly?
- Can count on each other?
- Are able to complete tasks with a reasonable level of flexibility and autonomy?
Communication is the foundation
Each pillar is upheld by communication. It takes minutes to review roles and expectations (Pillar #1). It takes seconds to share a heartfelt thanks (Pillar #3). And it’s time well spent. Intentional communication today prevents unintentional problems tomorrow.
Think of the last conversation that gave you a new sense of clarity, support, empathy, or trust. These are the types of conversations we value—and even crave. In high-performing teams, these conversations are commonplace. They’re ingrained in the culture. And they’re the foundation for success.
© 2019 Civic Communications, LLC