No one feels fully prepared when stepping into their first management position. You’ll need to learn unfamiliar systems and rules, bond with your team members, and of course, tackle everyday tasks. Finding the right balance between these things might feel intimidating, but how you manage them can make or break your success.
What Makes Some Teams High Performing?
When you take over a team as a new manager, your first priority should be getting to know the team and how they work. Both small-scale studies and large research initiatives show the culture of a team — or the habits and norms of behavior among its members — has a big impact on its performance. When you gather and compare research, it’s clear that high-performing teams are marked by three things:
- Common understanding: Every person on your team will possess a distinct set of knowledge, skills, and abilities, along with tasks and responsibilities. Everyone should understand how their own expertise and job duties contribute to the bigger picture, meaning the performance of the team and organization.
- Psychological safety: This happens when team members feel safe expressing themselves, speaking up when they have questions or concerns, disagreeing with each other, making mistakes, and taking interpersonal risks. This atmosphere encourages diverse perspectives and minimizes failures, as people are more likely to intervene and state their opinions or concerns before errors occur.
- Prosocial purpose: When team members know they’re making a valuable contribution to the world and producing work that positively impacts others, they feel prosocial purpose. Knowing the reason behind their work’s importance isn’t enough — employees also want to know who their work is serving. When people hear how their work is positively affecting others, they’re more likely to set their own goals and desires aside and focus on the needs and objectives of the team.