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7 Key Characteristics and Traits Linked to High-Performing Teams

7 Key Characteristics and Traits Linked to High-Performing Teams

We manage and lead organisations through and with teams. If our teams are dysfunctional, so are our organisations. A high performing team is key to operational success.

Throughout the last 24 months, our teams have become somewhat disjointed, with many now opting for a hybrid working model. Consequently, the need to raise and maintain team morale, confidence and performance have never been so important.

So, this raises the question of how to build a high performing team. Throughout this blog, we will take a look at how to build high performing teams and the 7 key characteristics of high performing teams.

What makes a high-performing team different from other teams?

It is the age-old saying that still remains true; the most successful and high-performing teams function like a well-oiled machine. Every member of the team does not just know and understand their role, they really live it and importantly enjoy it. Every individual knows their importance to the final output of the team. They have the self-belief that without them, the results wouldn’t be as good.

Morale, self-confidence and self-esteem play a leading role in the success of a team. An inspired team tend to see the best results. A team that struggles with confidence, positive cohesion and complacency tend to see poor results.

Building high performing teams are crucial to organisational success. Sometimes the importance of teamwork gets forgotten and people get neglected. When this happens and teams become severely disjointed, operational output can plummet.

How do you build a high-performing team?

When looking at how to build a high performing team, a lot of responsibility lies with the team leader or manager. The best leaders have a tendency to understand the most valuable characteristics of high performing teams and how to enhance them.

High performing teams are built on high levels of trust and clarity of purpose and vision. Employees work most effectively and efficiently when there is a clear purpose within an organisation. People like to have an end goal and work towards that.

Employees must trust their leader and trust their peers. High levels of trust lead to a strong sense of confidence – I am confident my peer will do the best job possible and vice versa. To build a high performing team you must enhance trust and clarity, two of the most significant principles of high performing teams.

What 7 key characteristics are linked to high-performing teams?

There are uncountable characteristics and traits that are linked to high performing teams. It would take some time to list them all so we have narrowed it down to what we believe are the 7 key characteristics of high performing teams. The following vital attributes separate a high performing team from any other.


Trust creates a strong bond between team members. Trusting one another’s expertise will discourage encroachment and the need to constantly monitor. If each team member can perform their task free from doubt, productivity should improve. It is without a doubt that trust is one of the most important characteristics of a high performing team.

Open & clear communication

Communication builds trust. Having open conversations, including non-work related, can encourage the breaking down of barriers and the identifying of shared interests. Recognising one another on a human level can promote authentic connections.

Those that feel comfortable with one another are more likely to address issues than allow them to pent up and remain hidden. The ability to communicate effectively amongst a team and with your leader/manager will allow issues to be resolved quickly.

When discussing how to build a high performing team, open and brave conversations should be at the forefront. Most of the time what separates a good team from the highest performing team is the amount of communication and open conversations they have.


High-performing teams relish collaboration, coordination, and creativity. The most effective teams see the result of their work as being a group effort, one that is better than could possibly come from any single person.

An ‘every person for themselves’ attitude may well allow a certain job, or role, to be executed well but they are unlikely to find success as a team. The best teams operate when every team member buys into the ethos of collaboration and coordination.


Diversity is one of the most important characteristics of high performing teams. A high performing team is not made up of well-rounded individuals. A high performing team becomes well-rounded by integrating different strengths, perspectives, and experiences.

Diversity allows for open and brave conversations to take place. As mentioned before, having these conversations can encourage the breaking down of barriers, promoting authentic connections. Hiring different types of people allows you to leverage each of their unique strengths, perspectives, and experiences to build the most robust and adaptable team possible.


High performing teams thrive around a collective purpose. It is this end-goal, or achievement, that really motivates the most successful teams. Working towards a clear vision will allow teams to focus on delivering the best results possible.

There are very few better feelings than collectively achieving something, especially with close friends or peers. Success tends to motivate success and success is measured by achieving your goals. Homing in on purpose and vision is key when building high performing teams.

Willingness to learn

Success is temporary, as your external circumstances change and progress so do your organisation’s purpose and goals. There is always a need to learn and develop to keep up with the demands of change. When this need is met with the willingness to learn then success can be frequent.

Continuous learning not only propels growth and keeps teams striving for higher achievement but is an excellent motivator. High performing teams value feedback, learn from their mistakes, and are eager to better themselves. When looking at how to build a high performing team, individuals that are always willing to learn are key.

Steps to build a high-performing team

  • Learn the basics of how to build a high performing team

There are many online and face-to-face training providers that deliver programmes on how to build a high performing team. Roffey Park Institute’s Building High Performing Teams programme will give you the fundamental knowledge and skillset so that you can build a high performing team within your context.

  • Seek stability

Know how many team members will allow for the most effectiveness and efficiency. You do not want too few or too many people as this can affect productivity.

  • Align a purpose

As mentioned, aligning a clear vision, purpose and goal can give team members a collective bond and something to work towards, together.

  • Encourage open and brave conversations

Leaders should take care to build a working environment that fosters risk-taking. This kind of team culture will motivate employees and encourage innovation. Team members should not be frowned upon for making honest mistakes.

  • Foster a culture of continuous learning

Technology is always changing and therefore is the need to upskill. There are many online training platforms that provide industry-recognised and certified courses on the current and relevant topics, one being Roffey Park Institute’s open programmes.

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