“We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is a habit, not an act.”
High performing teams give organisations an edge. They drive exponential outcomes and quality of work for the time and input involved. The individuals in these teams are incredibly self-motivated, growth-focused and consistently seek out challenges.
Let’s take a look at some of the habits and mindsets of all-star employees and how to cultivate a culture of high performance within a team.
The habit of lifelong learning
High performers are lifelong learners who are motivated to expand their knowledge deliberately.
They know learning boosts confidence, forms innovative problem-solving skills and is the foundation of a dynamic career.
It’s common for high-performance professionals to gain a second area of expertise -’second-skilling.’ This experience may complement the work they do already; like a business development manager learning marketing or something totally unrelated to their 9-5 profession, like studying gastronomy.
Having a creative interest away from the office helps sustain consistently high workplace performance without burning out.
Tips for leaders to cultivate a learning centred team
Learning centred individuals and teams are a real organisational asset; insights from Deloitte’s 2017 Global Human Capital Trends show 80% believe learning is the most important tool for the future of business.
Offer the opportunity for cross-training with different departments and provide your team with the opportunity to take risks and pitch new ideas. Work with individuals to map out their ideal career path, identifying areas of additional learning needs and supplement the cost of tuition.
Even if funds are limited, framing a project from the perspective of what new skills will be gained can make an impact.
High performers will actively seek feedback. Rather than dread constructive criticism, they thrive on it and are focused on receiving actionable feedback.
They ask what steps they can take to exceed expectations, how they can improve and ask for recommendations on the project, position or assignment they should be ready for next. They’ll also look outside the organisation to glean insights from others on how they can get better at their own role.
Tips for leaders on feedback
Don’t wait for annual or semi-annual performance reviews. Informal, simple feedback should be given regularly – perhaps every week or depending on the project, every day.
Let the person know specifically what needs to be improved, minimising room for ambiguity, providing clear, actionable steps. Be sure to balance constructive criticism with thanks for their hard work.
Flexible and future focused
Mediocracy and stagnation don’t exist in the mindset of high-performance individuals. Naturally motivated, they focus on the next step and self-initiate new assignments and challenges.
With strategic vision they get stuff done and love to tackle complex problems. Their drive for learning makes these team members extremely flexible and early adopters of change, especially in the area of technology.
Tips for leaders on encouraging flexibility and future focus
Adapting to new technology, in particular, can be a stumbling block for many employees. Invest in training that not only focuses on technical skills but includes teaching the employees to think differently and develop new behavioural skills.
High level of personal accountability
High performers usually hold themselves to strict a personal code of accountability. They don’t need someone standing over them giving directions and micromanaging every task. These individuals take full responsibility for moving things along in a project from A-Z.
They don’t play the blame game and step up to take ownership of mistakes as well as success.
This type of accountability breeds excellence and it’s a critical part of a highly functioning team.
Tips for leaders to cultivate accountability within the team
Cultivating accountability means moving away from micromanaging. Help your team understand why their individual role is important and you’ll move them towards feeling personal ownership for the bigger outcome.
Health is a top priority
It’s impossible to give your best when physically you’re running on empty; studies show the direct impact exercise has on increased productivity at work.
Most high achievers have daily health and wellness habits they stick to religiously.
Exercise, healthy food and time for self-care improves energy levels and focus, relieves mild anxiety and depression and boosts a general sense of wellbeing. These health benefits definitely provide an edge in the workplace.
Tips for leaders to inspire the team to get active
Negotiate a corporate discount with local gyms, offer free or discounted pedometers and run a simple ‘steps per week’ comp within the team or organise lunchtime walking, running, or yoga groups.
Time management masters
Elite performers are masters of using their time effectively. They plan and run an efficient daily schedule that ultimately reduces mental clutter, lowers stress and increasing effective productivity.
They set boundaries with people, meetings, and themselves and are very clear on the desired outcome for every single action they take.
High performance individuals also schedule time for dynamic thinking, working on tasks that are future-focused and understand the distinction between urgent vs important.
Tips for leaders to improve time management within the team
Encourage team members to experiment individually with different time management techniques like the Pomodoro Method to find what works best for them.
Introduce a ‘no interruption’ policy at specific times, limiting the number of interruptions will help keep the team focused. Use tools that allow real-time collaboration, like Google Docs, with the ability to share, write, comment, and edit documents simultaneously.
High achievers are tenacious and motivated by goals. They’ll work persistently towards a goal until it’s been achieved and aren’t easily discouraged. Challenges along the way are seen as opportunity for growth rather than a problem to completely derail the plan.
Tips for leaders on goal setting
Be clear on the teams objective and how it aligns with the overall organisational strategy. Then break it down to clearly defined individual goals and how they align with the team’s objective. The vision, path and goal need to be clear to motivate individuals to perform at a high level to hit the target.
Creating a high performance culture should be a top priority for organisations. It is one of the most essential drivers of business performance and creating highly engaged, positive and effective teams.
If you’re ready to cultivate a culture of high performance within your team, get in touch with THINKA today.