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Characteristics of High Performance Teams
By Terence Traut

Entelechy reviewed over 50 studies on high performance teams and compiled a list of high performance team characteristics. We grouped characteristics into eight categories as indicated below.

  1. Participative Leadership
  2. Responsive
  3. Aligned on Purpose
  4. Communicative
  5. Task Focused
  6. Problem Solving
  7. Shared Responsibility
  8. Innovative

See if your team shares characteristics of High Performance Teams. Circle the characteristics that describe your team; cross off those that don't describe your team.

Participative Leadership

Envisioning leadership and organizing leadership Clear leadership role that is shared Enables people to make choices Shared norms Shared values Members drawn to the team Team identity Belonging/membership Synergism Future focused

Aligned on Purpose and Vision

Common shared purpose Clear shared vision Self directing High morale Team goals align with personal goals and organization goals Problem solving, not laying blame Clear, shared understanding of team members' roles

Task Focused

Challenging tasks Individual accountability/ownership Equality in workload Quality focus Clear tasks and milestones Mutual respect for ability Commitment

Shared Responsibility

Shared decision making Rewards linked to team performance Recognize expertise/value added in individuals Cooperation Clear standards of acceptable performance Celebrates success Clear authority and responsibility Contribution Members responsible for team success


Creative talents May promote personal relationships Respect for individuals Empowered and empowering

Problem Solving

Upfront and direct; confronts issues not people Trust Clear decision-making process Conflicts managed well Freedom to express ideas Freedom to share opinions


Superb communication Open communication Openness Clear communication channels Share common language and terminology External communications Time managed well Structure, purposeful meetings (facilitator, timekeeper, recorder, scribe)


Unite/partner with other teams Flexible Outward focused Focus on the customer Allows risks and mistakes Promotes group learning Self Monitoring Self correcting; evaluates its own performance Individuals pleased with work results Assigns opposing views.

Terence R. Traut is the president of Entelechy, Inc., a company that helps organizations unlock the potential of their people through customized training programs in the areas of sales, management, customer service, and training. Check out our 40 customizable modules, training tools, and eGuides at

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