Creating and Leading High-Performing Teams

October 2019 | By ALULA

high-performing-teamsIn every work environment you’ll hear talk of teams.  Teams are formed deliberately and carefully to achieve the objectives and goals of an organization.

Many of us are part of multiple teams—a core team, plus at least one cross-functional team. In our work with many Fortune 100 companies, we know that the best teams all possess the same secret for success: a leader who knows how to create and lead a high-performing team.  

What does it take to lead a high-performing team? It takes an individual who can bring out the best in all team members and create a highly motivated community of experts. An effective leader of a high-performing team must be able to:

  • ENGAGE team members and create a passionate work environment of collaboration
  • Drive business RESULTS not just short-term, but also using medium- to long-term strategies

Engagement and results interact powerfully. Using engage team members and drive business results as anchors, we tend to see team leaders fall into one of four categories, or ‘quadrants’. We call this person a Q4 leader.


Q4 Leadership SM Model

 Q4 Leadership SM Model


Unfortunately, it’s easy to focus on just results, or just engagement, especially in times of stress.

  • If your leadership tips toward results too much, you’re constantly driving short-term results. This wears down team members and loses engagement. We call this a Q3 leader.
  • If you tip toward engagement too much, your team likely will think highly of you and your relationships will be strong. But performance will suffer because you’re focused on preserving team dynamics and relationships, instead of driving performance. That’s a Q2 leader.
  • There’s also the rare Q1 leader, who is disengaged, leaving their team hanging.

So how can you be a consistent Q4 leader of a high-performance team? Being a Q4 leader is not a fixed state—it demands agile, ongoing realignment, consciously addressing both engagement and results, and leveraging the strengths of all team members.

Easy to say . . . but there is something more concrete you can do. We have found that Q4 leaders consistently ask themselves: “Have I created the environment for my team to succeed?” Then, drilling down, they ask themselves four more questions:

  1. Do my team members know exactly what they are tasked to do, and why it’s important in the bigger picture? (this is Direction)
  2. Do my team members have the knowledge and skills they need to do what we ask? (this is Competence)
  3. Are we providing the right authority to make decisions, and the right processes and resources, and knocked down the barriers, for my team to succeed? (this is Opportunity)
  4. Have we created a team environment where focusing on the right thing is recognized and reinforced? (this is Motivation)

High-Performance Teams result when team members feel well-supported in all four of those areas—Direction, Competence, Opportunity, and Motivation (DCOM®).

Is your team struggling? If so, ask them those four DCOM questions—and you will discover where gaps exist. Then, act to close those gaps and remove barriers. In some cases, this can mean helping them cope with limitations which can’t be remedied. But it will give your team the support they need to be high-performing in the long run. It also elevates your standing as a more effective Q4 leader.


DCOM® is a registered service mark of CLG (dba ALULA)

Q4 Leadership SM is a service mark of CLG (dba ALULA)


Topics: Leadership


Written by ALULA