Seven critical skillsets for high-performance teams
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Seven critical skillsets for high-performance teams

Features - Business Management

Mastering these characteristics can help take your business to the next level.

September 17, 2019

Each day you walk into your office, are you considering what type of culture you are cultivating? Are you and your team of leaders aware that your actions will dictate whether you are cultivating a culture of compliance or a culture of connection, commitment and community?

Daily, you are faced with important decisions, and how you handle those decisions as well as how you interact with your team, will dictate the culture. Your organization’s culture will ultimately determine what kind of experience your customers and clients will have.

If you were placed at the helm of a multimillion-dollar Air Force cargo jet or commercial airliner under stress and other challenges, there would be a necessity for cohesiveness, communication and commitment in order to be the high-performance team required to operate these jets. You already have a great team, but is your team ready to handle their job along with the stress of combat? This is why it is critical to have the right skillsets that will enable you and your team to trust the training, trust the process and trust the people.

To cultivate cohesiveness, connection and commitment in these fast-paced, high-performance teams, there are seven critical skillsets that should be present and encouraged.

1. Professional knowledge

Professional knowledge is critical and is the foundation to any high-performance individual and team. When your people are equipped with the professional knowledge essential to their jobs, it’s easier to empower them and trust them to make decisions when things get challenging. Think about a professional pilot and consider how knowledgeable you want them to be. Would you consider your team trained to have that level of knowledge, to execute their job, when hundreds of lives are on the line?

2. Situational awareness

Situational awareness (SA) is the ability to understand and comprehend environmental elements, events and possible scenarios as it applies to time, space and the collective comprehension of someone’s interpretation. There are multiple types of SA to include individual, team and organizational SA. To make the right decisions at the right time, it is critical that SA is present. SA has been cited as a fundamental tactic to successful decision-making in aviation, healthcare, emergency response and many other high-stress environments. The lack of SA, according to scholarly documents, has been a driving factor in accidents attributed to human error. To keep your operation performing at its best and being positioned for continued improvement, your people need to have collective SA for any threats that might harm the operations. What kind of training has been put in place that helps to cultivate and reinforce this skillset?

3. Assertiveness

Assertiveness is defined as confident, forceful and self-assured behavior. Further, assertiveness is being self-assured and confident without being aggressive. When it is time to make business decisions and the fate of your organization is on the line, like flying a commercial airliner with hundreds of passengers onboard, it is imperative that your people are trained, ready and willing to speak up and assert their voice to avert a disaster. When the success of your organization is on the line, your people need to be empowered to speak up and assert themselves, appropriately, to ensure the operation continues smoothly and, in many cases, for the operation to improve. Can your people trust that the leadership team will be ready to listen and acknowledge when they speak up and assert themselves for the greater good of the organization?

4. Decision-making

Decision-making is the process and action of making choices, especially important choices, by identifying a decision, gathering information and assessing alternative possibilities. When you look at decision-making and its application to your environment and how it relates to high-performance teams, you need to be ready and able to make important and significant decisions. Sometimes these decisions will have to be made in very short order, without supervision. To make these time-sensitive decisions, your people will need to be empowered, and know that they are prepared and trusted to make decisions that can be very critical to the operation and success of the organization. Consider what you can do to equip, prepare and empower your people to make the right decision, in a moment’s notice, at the right time.

5. Communication

Communication is defined as the exchange of information or news. When it’s crunch time and critical decisions need to be made, whether in flight at 35,000 feet in the air flying at 600 mph, or when a major deal is on the table for your organization, communication is essential. When it’s time to make decisions, given the time-critical scenario, you want, need and expect your people to communicate. Have your people been empowered and trusted to communicate the critical information at the right time and right place?

6. Leadership

Leadership is defined as the act of leading a group of people or organization. Every organization, especially high-performing organizations, need true and authentic leadership. They need leadership that is effective at all levels of execution. Leadership in your teams and organization must be further defined as the people that influence others to accomplish the team and organizational objectives in a manner that makes the team more cohesive and more committed to each other, the mission at hand and the organization.

7. Adaptability

Adaptability means being able to adjust to new conditions. When your organization or team is moving at the speed of success, it is imperative that members are adaptable. The organization must empower its people to be ready and prepared to adapt to different scenarios. When flying commercial jets across the world, there is likely to be turbulence and weather formations along the route. In order to get to the intended destination safely, the crew must be adaptable to go over, under and around the turbulence and thunderstorms. Being adaptable can only happen when the people have been empowered.

The next time you walk into your office, you should be clear on the culture you are cultivating. These skillsets will support the making of a connected, committed and community-like environment.

The author is a leadership and trust speaker, consultant and certified character coach. As a decorated combat veteran, he brings unique perspectives gained from his battlefield experience to organizations. The author's No Fail Trust™ methodology was crafted from his own harrowing, life-altering experiences, and conveys the importance of cross-generational communication and mutual trust.