The Secrets of Outstanding Teams


Outstanding teams deliver extraordinary results by attracting, retaining, and developing top talent. Building an outstanding team is a vital leadership activity to enable you to accelerate business results.

The following 10 strategies reveal the secrets of how successful teams achieve exceptional results.

1. Build team trust

  • Self-trust involves: honesty; stop making assumptions; don’t take things personally; and do the best you can.
  • Team trust involves: straight talk; show respect; share information; apologize; give credit to others; deliver results; improve skills; face tough issues; clarify expectations; practice accountability; listen first; keep commitments; and extend trust.
  • Trust busters involves: stonewall; defend; blame; sarcasm and mockery.

Action Items

  • The only way to build trust is to spend time together as a team doing formal and informal activities to get to know each other personally and professionally.

2. Create team candour

Everyone has a valid point of view. However, most people are reluctant to share their point of view in a group for fear of being “bopped on the head.”

Action Items

  • Listen 80% of the time and acknowledge all points of view before making a decision.
  • Praise candour publicly to foster and encourage more candour.

3. Minimize ego-talk and maximize compassion

  • Ego-talk involves: being judgmental; looking good; blame game; avoid/control freak; and right/wrong.
  • Compassion involves: getting off your “high-horse” and having a mind-set of everyone is doing the best they can.

Action Items

  • Be an exemplar for minimizing ego-talk and maximizing compassion towards your board, customers, employees, and all stakeholder groups.

4. Master emotions

Happiness and optimism are two vital emotions that motivate and inspire the people around you. Anger and frustration are negative emotions that kill trust and candour.

Action Items

  • Spend 80% of your time in positive emotions by; becoming self-aware of your negative emotions; changing your physiology and reframing situations when you are in a negative emotional state.
  • Do not interact with another human being when you are in a negative emotional state.

5. Master decision-making effectiveness

There are five decision-making styles available for your use in any given situation: autocratic; distance; consultative; collaborative and consensus.

Action Items

  • Consider time available, information available, developing people and commitment required in choosing which style to use.

6. Master meeting effectiveness

Effective meetings involve: achieving ideal outcomes; involving the right people; allowing people to influence and holding people accountable for results.

Action Items

  • Follow up and hold people accountable for results without playing the blame game.

7. Foster healthy conflict

Healthy conflict involves achieving objectives using the best alternative and preserving relationship trust.

Action Items

  • To resolve 90% of conflicts: First, agree on what you want to achieve before discussing how to achieve it.

8. Attract, retain and develop top talent

Top talent involves: passion, competence and extraordinary results.

Action Items

  • Feedback is a gift. If each person has the right skills, behaviours and experience, the team will achieve exceptional results.

9. Break down silos

Six human motivators involve: connection; variety; certainty; learning and growth; contribution; and significance.

Action Items

  • Clarify expectations and roles related to results and behaviours.
  • Use six human motivators to accelerate silo busting.

10. Hold people accountable for results and behaviours

Accountability is a motivating force to keep people moving forward.

Action Items

  • Accountability is judgment-free. There is no blame game.
  • Ask questions such as: What worked? What didn’t work? How would you do it differently? What’s next?

Adapted from the book: The Talent Advantage: How to Attract and Retain the Best and the Brightest by coauthors Dr. Alan Weiss and Dr. Nancy MacKay, published by Wiley.