Building High-Functioning and Self-Managed Teams

Building High-Functioning and Self-Managed Teams

We often emphasize the need for teams to be more innovative and productive but what does it really take to build a team that delivers? How can we engage and inspire employees to do more and work better?

The answer lies in finding meaning and purpose in the work you do. Employees that embrace purpose-driven mindsets are focused, perform better, and most importantly are satisfied in their job roles.

Here are a few pointers on how to establish purpose in a workplace:

  1. Understand and connect employees to goals and aspirations

Helping employees understand how they can make an impact at work will create a sense of meaning and purpose to what they do. We all want to be a part of something that matters and this gives us people the zeal to become more engaged and focused in our jobs.

  1. Create opportunities for growth and learning

It’s crucial for organizations to develop a culture to aid learning as this helps employees to grow in their desired paths and also increases employee engagement. Employees who feel connected to the company’s purpose and goals are more innovative, perform better, and are ready to take on challenging tasks.  

  1. Help employees to collaborate or mentor

Employees who collaborate and work with others can impart knowledge and are able to solve problems together better. Additionally, experienced employees who have the opportunity to mentor others, can teach and guide those with less knowledge, help those who are keen on contributing more as well.

Creating self-managed teams

Now, that we have accomplished our purpose, how can we create self-managed teams?

The idea of self-managed teams comes from an organizational mindset that puts exceptional, talented, and skilled people together in a company. Essential characteristics to look for while building a self-managed team are:

  1. Self-driven

They understand their roles in detail and are able to motivate themselves to complete tasks quickly and accurately.

  1. Reliable:

Having a teammate that you can count on in any given situation and understanding their role in the team’s workflow is key.

  1. Strong communicators:

They are able to bring opinions and provide input and feedback from team members that positively help the execution of projects.

  1. Agile mindset:

They are open to discovering and learning new things and seek to improve their own knowledge when needed.

Five Traits for a high-functioning team

According to Google research that came out a few years ago, the five traits that set successful teams apart are:

  1. Psychological Safety:

This turned out to be the most important of the five traits. During meetings, we all have in some way or the other held back questions or ideas due to the fear of seeming incompetent at work. Although this self-protection strategy is natural, it truly affects teamwork. Creating safe zones for your team members will help them voice out opinions and ask hesitation-free questions.

  1. Dependability:

Having team members that you can lean on to get work done on time builds trust and reliability. It also helps in meeting high standards and expectations.

  1. Structure & Clarity:

High-performance teams set detailed and clear goals, steadily work towards achieving them, and also set well-defined roles within the group. 

  1. Meaning of Work:

Team members who see a personal significance at work find meaning in what they do, are more productive, and perform better.

  1. Impact of Work:

Team members who believe their work bring purpose are more likely to contribute to the greater good.

Ready to evolve? Take your own quiz:

Tom Paterson, the founder of StratOp, developed a process that helps teams evolve by asking and understanding these three questions (these can be answered both personally and professionally):​​​​

  1. Where are you today?

Observe where you are at this present moment and what you want to focus on.

  1. Where are you going?

If you foresee a vision you have set in mind, how does this future vision look like and have you achieved your desired outcome?

  1. How will you achieve your set target?

This will require research and incorporating a step-by-step plan to reach your future vision and to figure out unseen actions along the way.

Analyzing these goals with each team member will help them connect to their personal visions and allow them to communicate freely.

Purpose gives meaning. Building trust takes time, but having team members ready to commit to decisions will help the organization move forward. Go ahead, and build your dream team.


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Nausheen Siraj, Marketing Manager, CXO Connect ME