Leadership and high performing teams

Everyone wants a high performing team. Particularly clients and their end users in the facilities sector. Clients in all markets are demanding closer links with their service providers and a one team approach – and they expect that team to meet very high performance criteria.

This is why all facilities management service providers make bold claims about their ‘people’ and ‘leadership. Because, if the one team idea is going to work and that team is going to be high performing it is more important than ever to have the right people on that team and for them to be well lead and supported to ensure a high performance.

How do you do it? There is no magic formula, but it is not rocket science either. What you need are a few basic ingredients.

The first is culture – you have no option but to instil amongst your team a clear vision, a shared desire to achieve that vision and an agreed set of behaviours.

Think about all the elements of Team GB at the Olympics and Paralympics. The ultimate goal is to win medals, but also to perform to your utmost ability and achieve personal bests. The whole team, from administrators, drivers and security guards through to nutritionists and coaches and then the athletes all work towards a single goal because they share the vision, values and sense of purpose. This is the best example of employee engagement. If you have that team ethic, that positive culture and drive then you will exceed the expectations of the client.

Look at your team, do not take it for granted. In sport and business, the dynamics change as teams grow and as people join a team. This needs managing – by team leaders, but also by the individuals themselves. They need to be given responsibility. When you become a team player, you become quite analytical and self-critical. There are no holds barred if it is for the greater good. You should encourage everyone to look for ways to change and improve and learn from each other. The whole team also needs to show respect for the individual roles. No gold medal winner at the Olympics can perform to the level they do without the psychologists, physiologists, nutritionists and in some cases technical teams.

For facilities management there are clear parallels with Olympic sports, such as sailing and cycling where the application of technology and motivational techniques as well as the skill, stamina and determination of individuals are all key to success.

Leadership – from the top of an organisation to the specialist teams leading on contract delivery – binds high performance teams together. Every team needs a strong leader, someone to take responsibility, but also someone that is confident to allow the team to take charge of key decisions and the importance of delegating and empowering people: playing to individual strengths. Central to this communication. In FM that means communication up and down the supply chain with the client and with the service teams on the ground – something critical to what defines good leadership.

Ultimately the leader’s responsibility is to set objectives and goals and break down the elements required to hit those targets. Which, takes us neatly back to culture – a clear vision and set of behaviours. If you have the right culture, then you really can be a high performing team.