Teams working together

Transitioning into a managerial role can be daunting, but your success hinges on how well you manage your team. Research shows that team culture significantly influences performance. As a new leader, you have the chance to shape this culture. High-performing teams generally share three key traits: mutual understanding, psychological safety, and a sense of purpose.

Mutual Understanding in High-Performing Teams

Team members come with unique skills and responsibilities. Understanding how these individual roles contribute to the team’s overall goals is crucial. To foster this understanding, consider a “Personal Playbook” exercise. Ask team members to fill out a simple template that outlines their work preferences and expertise. This exercise not only clarifies roles but also enhances team intelligence by promoting social sensitivity.

Building Mutual Understanding for High-Performing Teams

Initiate the “Personal Playbook” exercise a couple of weeks into your role. Use a simple template with questions like:

  • I excel when __________.
  • I struggle when __________.
  • You can rely on me for __________.
  • I need the following from you __________.

Discuss these in a team meeting, allowing time for questions and clarifications. This exercise will help team members understand each other’s strengths and weaknesses, leading to more effective collaboration.

Fostering Psychological Safety in High-Performing Teams

A psychologically safe environment allows team members to express themselves without fear of judgment. This is not about surrounding yourself with yes-men but about fostering a culture where constructive conflict is encouraged.

How to Instill Psychological Safety in High-Performing Teams

Lead by example. Show vulnerability and trust to encourage your team to do the same. This approach is more effective in building trust than maintaining a facade of perfection.

Prosocial Purpose in High-Performing Teams

Employees are increasingly seeking meaningful work. A sense of purpose not only motivates individual team members but also aligns the team towards common goals.

Cultivating a Prosocial Purpose for High-Performing Teams

Regularly share stories that highlight the impact of your team’s work. This could be stories about how your team helped colleagues, clients, or the community. These narratives can serve as powerful motivators in team meetings.

In summary, as a new manager, your role is to cultivate these three key traits within your team. Doing so will not only improve performance but also create a more fulfilling work environment for everyone involved.


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