Performance-Based Culture: Teams, Part 2

April 20, 2021

“No problem is insurmountable. With teamwork, a little courage, and determination, people can overcome anything.”

-- B. Dodge

This post is the second half of a mini-series on performance-based culture. I recommend you read Part 1 before continuing.

Teamwork is the understanding and acceptance of and commitment to group goals by all members that are part of a team. The use and application of teams has grown in popularity due to the advantages teams offer, particularly in the creation of a performance-based culture. There are several benefits and challenges that arise when working with teams. Below are just a few of them.


Synergy: Synergy refers to the concept of the team’s overall output exceeding the sum of the individuals' outputs. It has been described as two hands working together being able to accomplish more than each hand could accomplish on its own.

Clarity of Thinking: Team members often confer on decisions, thereby they evaluate each other's thinking, often avoiding major errors. This is why teams generally make better decisions than individuals. As has been said before, all of us are smarter than any one of us.

Continuous Improvement: Self-managed Teams are well known for creating a culture that support innovation and increases motivation. These team members display greater performance and job satisfaction.

Employee Satisfaction: Being a member of a successful team allows employees to have several needs met that are not met by working alone. Specifically, the need for affiliation, accomplishment, fulfillment, and belonging to something larger than themselves (cause).

Two sides of the same coin:

Pressure: In a performance-based culture, there is always pressure for team members to keep up and support other members of the team. In a non-performance based culture, members of the team may face pressure to conform to the team’s low standard of performance and conduct. This is a problem particularly when the person being pressured is a higher performer than others on the team.

Social Learning: In a performance-based culture, team members support, encourage (if not demand) high performance from team members. If an individual team member doesn’t have the skills necessary to perform, they are coached until the skills are learned.

Social Loafing: Social Loafing occurs when an individual team members reduce their efforts when they know they will not be held individually accountable for their work – clear sign of a non-performance based culture.

Group Growth: In a performance-based culture, team members challenge each other's decisions to ensure that all decisions are made in the best interest of the team and its cause. In contrast, Group Think occurs when the team accepts a decision not based on its merit, but because the team members are not willing to risk rejection for questioning the decision or present a dissenting perspective.

Performance-based cultures and the teams that inhabit them do not operate without a leader. A leader’s role does not disappear when a team is formed -- rather, it changes. To be an effective team leader requires a shift in mindset from traditional leadership roles. Team leaders must be knowledgeable in team process and be able to respond to the interpersonal needs of a team. Leaders who are successful at leading teams are able to recognize the broad needs of their people, including opportunities to use all of their skills, opportunities for growth, a sense of security, a healthy work culture, and effective leadership. A leader’s inability to recognize and address these needs often creates situations where teams can go off course or become blocked by interpersonal conflict.

Team Leadership Skills/Abilities:

  • Emphasizing team recognition and rewards
  • Identifying and building on team strengths
  • Developing trust within the team
  • Developing the team’s capabilities to anticipate and deal with change effectively
  • Empowering teams to accomplish their work with minimal interference
  • Inspiring and motivating teams toward higher levels of performance
  • Recognizing individuals and team needs and attending to them in a timely manner
  • Encouraging and supporting team decisions
  • Providing teams with challenging and motivating work
  • Supporting the team in the identification, creation, and striving towards the fulfillment of a cause

Do your leadership skills support or inhibit a performance based culture that maximizes the benefits of teams?

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