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The Power of a High Performing Team

This is the week of the TEAM. For our football teams competing in the Euros, for the political parties in the General Election and also for those 772 crews competing at Henley Royal Regatta; it is the highest performing teams that will be successful. Within every team there are different personalities and individuals who may be more accomplished than others. However this isn’t a race where one person wins, where the most competitive person out performs everyone else, it is how the teams work together that will determine their success.

So what elements make a high performing team?

I recently ran a workshop at my local rowing club about the elements that make a group of highly competitive youngsters work together to become a real team. The themes we talked about could be just as relevant for our England football team as well as the different political parties who are working hard in these last few days to secure election success.

Recognition and the link to trust

You may recognise many of the traits above applying to some of our teams that are currently struggling. In fact the outcome of underperforming teams is that they stop trusting each other, whereas the outcome of high performing teams is that trust increases - particularly when the teams go through difficulties and hardship together. High performing teams hold each other accountable to create a strong team culture that defines how they behave on a day to day basis.

Ratio appreciation to criticism:

•       High performing teams                                        6:1

•       Medium performing teams                                2:1

•       Low performing teams                                         1:1


Research has shown that teams that recognise each other’s strengths and those teams who understand and play to the strengths of the team, perform far better than those who focus more on the weaknesses of the team.

Do you make time to recognise the strengths of your team, to celebrate your daily achievements and your weekly wins? My daughter's team recently won the annual national university championships in the USA. Last year they lost the title that they had narrowly won for the previous two years. The team strongly felt that they had lost because the focus had become on the individual and not on the team anymore. They reflected on how they could “make their team mates better” every day. How to support and get the best out of each other.

Before each major race of the season they shared anonymous notes of appreciation with the rest of their team mates. Why do you want to race with me? The end result was increased trust and belief in each other, so much so that they went onto win the National Championships. Yes they all trained incredibly hard all year, they weren’t all picked to row in championship crews, sometimes they lost when they all wanted to win, but what made the real difference was they wanted to win as a team and they did that by supporting each other. In ALL the post-race conversations the coach and all the rowers attributed their success in 2024 to their team culture. How they helped each other to be a better team mate.

Perhaps some of our Euro football teams and some of our political parties could learn something from this group of rowers that became greater than the sum of the individuals and became a real high performing team.

If you would like to know more about team culture and how we can help your team to become a high performer please get in touch - email or call us on +44 (0) 333 090 2580.

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