10 Characteristics of High-Performance Teams

by Feb 25, 2020

All leaders want to lead high-performance teams. However, what defines a high-performance team? I think this quote says it best.

“Nothing drives strong teams like great performance, and what drives strong performance is a commitment to a shared vision and shared goals with behaviors and relationships aligned with reaching those goals.” – Dr. Henry Cloud, Boundaries for Leaders

What does a leader need to do to ensure that his team is operating at high performance? Well, the list below will be able to help you realize what are the characteristics of a high-performance team. You will also find out how as a leader you can help your teams establish them.

Define Values That Drive Results

High-performance teams know what their values are and help to drive results. Leaders can help the team navigate and establish their values by setting boundaries on the environment that the team will operate. Values are the fundamental beliefs of that team and what the team holds be of importance while doing their best work. These can be behaviors, foundations of service levels, or communication. It is important that teams establish, agree, and share these values and use them as their standard of operating.

Share with Each Other

Sharing with each other regularly helps the team execute the group’s values in full sight. Team members can hear what other team members bring to the table that uphold the values that they all commonly share. This can be done simply by a different team member regularly share what they have observed about their values in the business. For example, a team member can share an article or some valuable story of something that relates to the values. This always keeps the values in the line of sight of the team and encourages each team member to be apart of frequently sharing value.

Assume Good Intent

It is very important to always assume that in whatever situation may come about, your team member is responding out of good intent. I separated this from the values definition because it is so important we assume positive things about those on our team until proven otherwise. Having a boundary of good intent within your team gives you a baseline for which to base your assumptions. Assuming good intent will help you to respond to situations better more positively, and gives each team member the benefit of doubt.

Willing To Listen

All of your team members should be willing to listen. This is another value that should be called out and should be a standard for high-performance teams.  Listening to other team members, their stories, their struggles can give your team insights on how they can better serve them. Being good listeners can be the difference from becoming not only a high-performance team, but a transformative one.


Do you want to know what drives teams into higher performance? Trust. Trust is one of the key factors that inspires and encourages teams to keep moving forward. There are so many elements to trust. In the book Boundaries for Leaders, Dr. Henry Cloud mentions the components of trust below. Knowing and ensuring these are done within your teams are important.

  • Connection through understanding
  • Motivation and intent
  • Character
  • Capacity and ability
  • Track record

Seek Truth

Teams depend on each other and learn to trust one another. A high-performance team also seeks truth. Team members should seek truth about their values, truth about situations that may arise, and truth about each other. Teams that seek truth, always listen and find bottom line of where problems are deriving from. If any action needs to be taken, it is done out of the truth. Typically these actions are more sustaining because they are taken by cutting through any preconceived notions down to the root cause of any issue. Truth seekers are changemakers!


Team members need to know that they can depend on each other. However, dependability comes from the experience of regularly depending on a team member with a positive and successful outcome.  Knowing that your team member is dependable and will handle what is designated to them inspires trust and enhanced dependability. When teams know they can depend on each other, they begin to trust each other more and are willing to take on bigger tasks.

Great Track Record

When you know your favorite football team is on the television, and have good odds of winning, you are more likely to show up for them right? You are more likely to trust them, root for them, put money on them (in some cases). Having team members that have a good track record of showing up and handling that they are to handle helps them establish a good track record. Your team looks at the track records of other team members and learns that this team member can be trusted and is dependable.

Show Up

It takes courage and determination to show up for your team each and every time. High-performance teams show up for each other. They are there to help, to guide, to assist their fellow team members. They are at meetings to share their learnings, experiences, and struggles. Consistently showing up in your work helps your teammates realize the value that they have in you.


Vulnerability is a word that many teams do not share much. Being vulnerable means that a team member would open themselves up to possible harmful responses from the other person. However being in a high-performance team and sharing with your team doesn’t result in personal attacks or judgements. In a high-performance team, vulnerability is met with understanding and it gains loving responses. If teams can learn to be vulnerable with each other, then they can help each other trade-in those gaps of fear and inadequacy for strength and courage.

If you want a high-performance team, all of these characteristics are road-map to get there. These components, combined with healthy boundaries are what is needed so that everyone feels safe, respected, and is allowed to grow and drive results. Are you apart of a high-performance team or would you like to be apart of one? I would love to hear how this resonates with you. Share your story or thoughts below.

P.S. If you are interested in how to put boundaries in place for your team, check out this post.


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