Teamwork vs High Performing Team – What’s the Difference?

By Teresa Lancaster on June 21, 2018

Teamwork – everyone wants it!  Organizations, congregations, classrooms, even families are constantly asking the proverbial question, “Can’t we all just get along?”

The simple answer to this question is yes – we can all get along.  If harmony amongst your team is your desired outcome, you won’t have to work very hard to achieve that.  The repercussion ironically, is that very well may be the only thing your team achieves – harmony.

The real work in harmonic teams gets accomplished in silo fashion, where “meetings after the meetings” take place and generally focus on plans to overshadow the team member who isn’t contributing, highlight failures in a leader who lacks confidence, or chisel on imperfections on the highest performing member of the team.  Businesses spend significant amounts of their budget for this level of teamwork and often pride themselves with a culture where everyone gets along.

On the flip side of Teamwork, lies High Performing Team work.  Though organizations aren’t willing to admit it, this level of collaboration is often avoided.  The reason being – it feels good to say that you have a high performing team.  However, it doesn’t feel good to build it – at least in the moment.

The following characteristics are what define a high performing team:

100% Dedicated to Success

Every member of a high performing team is dedicated to the success of themselves and all other members of the team – regardless of position.  Having this level of dedication changes all aspects of how we communicate, engage and execute.

Say What Needs to be Said

Effective communication has a constant presence within high performing teams.  This level of communication can be challenging and emotionally charged.  However, members of these teams understand the key role of “leaving everything on the table” eliminating the “meeting after the meeting.”

Recognition, Coaching & Accountability

High performing teams do not rely on traditional leadership to get things done.  They are intentional about recognizing progress, coaching opportunities for improvement and providing accountability to ensure expectations are clear.

Model Integrity

Trust is a key factor which is built by the actions of the team, not the words which are spoken.

Committing and building a high performing team will be challenging.  However, it is guaranteed to be the best investment your organization can make.