Do you remember those supergroups of the 1960s and 1970s made up of the best rock musicians from various other bands? The record companies thought they were on to a sure-fire winner but often they never quiet lived up to the hype.

‘Team members are not only good at their own jobs, they aim to help colleagues rather than be in competition with them’

More recently, money-bags football clubs have tried to ensure success by buying up the best players in Europe and South America to create a team of superstars to fill the club’s trophy cabinets to bursting. However, instead of domination the sports pages with success on the field they all too often hit the headlines for the off the field antics and the clash of all those super egos.

It’s the same in the world of business. High-performing teams are rarely created but they evolve, and while everyone is good at their job there are not made up of the best of the best. This is very reassuring because it means all teams have the potential to become high-performing teams.

The characteristics of a high-performing team are the sharing of responsibility, actively supporting and occasionally taking it in turns to lead. Team members are not only good at their own jobs, they aim to help colleagues rather than be in competition with them.

Unhealthy competition

This can be seen in how a high-performing senior management team deals with budget cuts, prepares for an inspection, responds when one individual is overloaded or deals with cross-cutting issues such as equality.

It may seem obvious but if a member of the management team is only concerned with protecting their area of service; sees no reason to take responsibility for failings in another area of service; believes they have more than enough to do without taking on someone else’s workload; is relieved the focus is on someone else; thinks they are the best and only person able to deal with their own issues; and generally seeks to keep the rest of the team at arm’s length then this is going to create conflict, disharmony and unhealthy competition. These are the characteristics of a dysfunctional team.

A high-performing team operating with cooperation, support and willingness to put some effort into benefiting colleagues, in the knowledge they will do the same in return, gets the results that earns them their title.