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High Performing Teams: Key Characteristics

High Performing Teams: Key Characteristics

Author: Sophia Tutorial

Identify the characteristics of high performing teams.

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Developing Effective Teams

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Thank you for joining me for this lesson on High Performing Teams. As you can see here, this lesson introduces teams and the characteristics of some high performing teams.

So let's get started. Let's get right into it. What are our objectives today? We're going to answer a few questions. What is a team? And what does it mean in a workplace? Are there types of teams? And how does the development of a team work? And if so, when we do develop a team, what does a high quality team look like? And probably the most important is, what are the benefits of a strong team?

So what is a team? We've all heard this word. I play on a volleyball team. My daughter plays on a soccer team. The word "team" is defined as a group of people working together towards a common goal. And of course, their strengths will determine what roles they play. There may be different roles, there may be the same roles. It all depends on the strengths of the individuals.

Ideally, members will have strengths aligned to the goals of the team. As you can see here, my team has six individuals. There may be as few as two people. And there really is no maximum to the amount of people that can be on a team, but generally, fewer than 12 is what's recommended. So let's take a look at some types of teams.

As I mentioned earlier strengths of individuals vary quite a bit. So of course, with that, teams can be composed of many different strengths and in many different ways. But for this tutorial, we're going to focus on four types of teams. We're going to talk about functional, cross-functional, problem-solving, and self-managed.

So functional, this is called the working team, right? These are the people that have similar areas of strength, and they all serve a similar function. When I was in advertising, we were all print buyers. Every one of us had the strength of negotiating print ads, so that's what we all did. There was a team of eight of us. We all worked in a similar area because our strengths were the same. We had a manager to oversee the department, and we were all there for a very long time.

So cross-functional teams, this is on the opposite side of the fence. This is where you're going to see multiple areas of expertise. This team is generally comprised of peers. If you were to imagine a hierarchy in a workplace, they're all on that same line. And cross-functional may be long-term just like functional, but it may also be short-term as well, depending on the goal.

Next, we're going to talk about problem-solving teams. Now, these teams may have multiple or similar areas. So it's really a hybrid of both cross-functional and functional when it comes to that area of strength of the individuals performing. But unlike cross-functional and functional, problem-solving teams are only temporary.

This is where people from multiple areas of strength come together to achieve a specific task or a specific goal. The types of people that come together for a problem-solving team is really defined by the goal. So first, you have the goal, then you have the people to achieve that goal.

Now, just like problem-solving, self managed teams have various areas of expertise or strengths. These people come together from various areas. They have their various strengths that are pulled together for a goal, but this team works independently. They're very autonomous in the nature of what they're doing. They have freedom to determine their own rules. So now let's take a look at how these teams are developed.

Five phases of development identified by a man named Bruce Tuckman in 1965. He's a psychologist who analyzed 50 articles of group development processes and found that these five stages are what rose to the top and were common of all teams. So first, we have forming. This is where we're taking a look at what do we need for strengths for this team to meet the goal that we have established. This is where we're going to communicate how we're going to achieve this goal and develop any hierarchies, should there be any, depending on the type of team of course.

So next, we have storming. Of course, we have structure that was developed in the forming stage, and now we might see some individuals resisting this a little bit. There may be some competition within the team for certain positions, and many teams unfortunately fail at this stage. They either disassemble or dissolve.

However, if the team makes it past storming, we have the next stage, which is norming. This is where the team starts to come together and gain momentum. Now everyone is on board. They're all working toward the same goal. And of course, we have performing. This is where the team members work effectively and efficiently. Everyone is moving toward that same goal. This is where everything comes together. Now we've learned the process of resolving conflict. The team was on a smooth process to attaining the goal.

And of course, we have adjourning. This is where the team dissolves, either because the goal has been achieved or other external factors. So let's take a look at an example. So let's say I see a problem. So I want to create a food truck, and I'm only solving the problem for this very specific time. So this is going to be a temporary situation, and it's going to be formed to address a specific need.

So I'm going to bring in my husband, and he is going to watching the books and set the pricing on the food that I'm going to sell. And next, I'm going to bring in my friend, Trinny. She's a big foodie, and she knows how to bake, and she loves to bake foods-- high quality from scratch foods. This is exactly what I'm looking for my food truck. Then I'm going to bring in our daughters, and they're going to work the truck. They're going to actually sell the food and take the money. And they're going to bring in some friends if needed.

Next, we have our storming stage. Let's say Trinny needs to buy some high quality ingredients. And my husband's saying, hey, you know what, the price that we've set for this isn't going to allow for those quality ingredients. We're going to need to bring it down a notch. You're going to need to compromise just a bit on your quality Luckily, we're going to resolve this conflict, and we're going to reach that norming stage.

And this is where we're all going to start to come together with that same goal in mind of serving this good food, and then we're going to hit the performing stage. Everything is going well because everyone is on the same page. We're all working toward that same goal of providing this good food. And then, of course, our team is going to dissolve in the adjourning stage. We've reached our goal we've all come together, and we've done a great job.

So let's take a look at the characteristics and benefits of a high performing team. You just saw in the hypothetical situation a very high level scenario of what it looked like to move through the stages, but what you didn't see behind the scenes, all the communication that went on to make sure that everyone was very clear in the role. My expectations were very clear as to what I needed them to do.

And in that, when a role is very clearly explained. This allows the person to be accountable for what they're doing, which leads to them feeling empowered. And when a person is empowered in their role, I learn to trust them. I see what they're doing. I see that they're passionate about the goal that they're moving toward.

And there's a mutual trust. They know that I trust they'll do their job. And they know that they're going to trust that I'll let them do what they need to do. Because I would rather have a strong team and a weak plan than a weak team and a strong plan. If there is a weak link in my team-- especially as small as it was-- there is no way, regardless of how much I communicate, that they're going to be able to execute my plan effectively.

But if I develop a strong team, I can trust that they'll identify and overcome any obstacles that come in the way of a plan that probably wasn't planned out as well as it should have been. I was sure to spend appropriate time developing that team I knew not to focus so much on the plan. I would rather focus on the team than the plan.

Because once they're empowered and they're accountable, I know that my team is going to be able to jump over those obstacles and solve conflicts. And this gives them confidence in their own abilities and the abilities of each other. So all of these characteristics build on each other. While there's a diverse set of skills and strengths that come together to my team, there was a commitment to that team and the goals. We all worked together.

So they're all dependent upon each other. They all build on each other. You can see that strong communication leads to clear expectations. Clear expectations lead to doing the job well and being able to meet those needs. And when someone does their job well, they're empowered and they're accountable. And when someone's accountable, of course, we trust them.

A strong team can solve conflict quickly and efficiently. With a strong team there's increased productivity, increased quality, and increased efficiency. That goal is met with very little obstacles in its way because a strong team knows how to solve obstacles and issues.

So that's it for today's tutorial. Let's take a look and make sure that we met our objectives and answered these questions. So what is a team? Again, this group of people working together toward a common goal. That is what a team is. And are there types of teams? Yeah. Today, we talked about four. We talked about functional, cross-functional, problem-solving, and self-managed teams. We also talked about those stages or phases that a team goes through when they're developed-- forming, storming, norming, performing and adjourning.

What does a high quality team look like? Well, we talked about that leader allowing their individuals to feel empowered and accountable and that mutual trust. And of course, the benefits of a strong team. That goal is met efficiently. There's higher productivity, higher quality. This is what we want in a team. So this concludes today's tutorial. Thank you so much for joining me, and I hope to see you soon.

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