What’s The Secret To Building A High Performing Team?

The focus on developing the soft-skills of teams has become more and more common, and with good reason; the essence of a high-performing team is based largely on the relationships between the people within them.

In addition to leveraging on the smarts learnt in leadership programs, the key to building a high-performance team is to foster a psychologically safe environment for the group.

The term Psychological Safety was created by Amy C. Edmondson who defines it as “a shared belief that the team is safe for interpersonal risk-taking”. Also one of the key elements to Google’s study on high performing teams, Psychological Safety is found to be essential in eliminating toxic and fear-based work cultures and significant in growing resilient, self-motivated and productive employees.

Put simply, psychologically safe teams are transparent. They trust each other to experiment without judgment, they voice opinions without feeling vulnerable and they are allowed to fail within safely set boundaries.

How can Managers build a Psychologically Safe Team? Let’s take a quick look:

  1. Focus on learning, not demanding

If your team misses the mark on a project, take the time to evaluate what went wrong rather than rushing to find a solution and moving onto the next task. Treat failure and challenges as learning opportunities for growth.

  1. Encourage exploration

Be brave enough to encourage innovation and exploration of new ideas within the team. To be allowed to contribute to processes and projects communicates to the team that they are valued and their ideas count.

  1. Promote curiosity

Even managers have a lot to learn, so lead by example and ask questions of your team. This will spark curiosity, get them actively contributing to solutions and demonstrate the value of challenging the ‘norm’.

  1. Acknowledge errors

We’re all human and we all make mistakes regardless of the role we fill. Admitting your mistakes displays to the team that is OK to fail. Have your team help keep you and each other accountable – you’re all in it together!

  1. Embrace discomfort  

In times when a difficult conversation must be had, it can be – well, difficult! However, if you have established a standard within your team where issues will be openly and honestly discussed, you’ll prevent smaller issues from escalating into big ones.

  1. Be flexible

It’s not always a case of one-size-fits-all when creating a psychologically safe team environment. And as teams grow and change and new personalities join the dynamics will surely change, so continue to communicate with your team on how they are feeling in group discussions and one-on-one catch-ups.

  1. Build values & key frameworks

It has been proven that productive teams fundamentally believe that the work they are doing matters and when there is structure and clarity around their goals, roles and processes. By creating these frameworks for everyone to use and follow will encourage transparency, embed accountability, promote trust and deliver high performance.


Agreed, this requires a commitment to a little more work than your day-to-day tasks, but the results are undoubtedly astounding.

HR On-Demand’s team of consultants provide Managers with on-the-spot coaching and advice to help them manage demanding people issues, and our monthly webinars are designed to develop your employees and help them be more productive. 

For more information, call us on 1300 55 99 62 or email hrondemand@talentcodehr.com.au