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Effective team leadership requires a blend of people focus and goal focus. While it’s rare that someone will have a perfect balance of the two, getting a clear understanding of your natural leadership style will allow you to adjust when necessary to be more flexible to the needs of your team members. It’s an important first step in building and retaining a high-performing team.

Once you know your leadership style and are working toward a balance of engaging people and executing on goals, the next step for success is implementing a structured team planning process. Here’s an effective way to do this while addressing both the goals and the people aspects of team leadership.


The model below is a fully functioning, self-regulating process with steps to achieve desirable, believable goals. It consists of five parts:

  • Define Objectives: Set clear, specific, written goals. All team members need to be on the same page about what’s expected of them and what the desired outcomes are.
  • Plan Strategy: List activities that will take you closer to your goals. This is where your map out the steps required to reach those desired outcomes.
  • Build Belief: Attitudes and beliefs can propel people forward—or hold them back. To develop the team’s belief that it has what it takes to accomplish its goals, use affirmations, visualization and imagery, and commit to maintaining a supportive environment that emphasizes regular coaching.
  • Develop Strengths: Beliefs and strengths go hand in hand. When people feel adequately equipped to tackle a challenge, they’ll have greater belief in their ability to succeed. Work on attitudes, habits, skills and specialized knowledge needed to achieve the new goals.
  • Manage Progress: Review, revise, celebrate achievement and/or set new goals. If the goal is achieved, set a new one. If it isn’t, review the steps to see where adjustments can be made.
team achievement system graphic

To make this process even more powerful, involve your team every step of the way. During weekly coaching sessions, work with your team to build a plan based on attainable, measurable action steps. By building their belief that they have the talent, skill and ability to accomplish that goal, you’ll help move them in the direction of goal attainment.


Develop your team’s coaching skills by creating peer coaches

Coaching is often thought of from the perspective of a manager-employee relationship, but a collaborative coaching community of peers is particularly effective in elevating the team as a whole and sustaining high performance. In conjunction with a supportive manager coach, peer-to-peer coaches can deliver exponential impact.

As your team members work together using the Achievement System as a planning process for team goals, the questions below will help them collaborate and coach each other to success:

  • Where are we now as a team and where would we like to be?
  • What does that look like? How will we determine success?
  • What about our team goal(s) excites you? Motivates you?
  • What about our team goal(s) de-motivates you?
  • What progress have we made with our team goal(s)? Are there revisions/changes we need to make in any goal(s)?
  • What incremental mini-goals have we already achieved?
  • What new mini-goals do we need to set?
  • How will we build belief that our goals are possible?
  • What prior successes can we build on? What new beliefs will we need to build?
  • What new attitudes, habits, skills, and specialized knowledge do we need to develop?
  • What affirmations will strengthen our belief and desire?
  • What can we do today that will take us one step closer to our goal(s)?

Creating a high-achieving team isn’t easy. But as leaders, these models can help us understand ourselves and then equip our team to, as professional hockey legend Wayne Gretzky said, “Skate to where the puck is going to be, not where it has been.”

About the Author
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Terri O’Halloran

Vice President of Client Development

Terri partners with our clients to strategically plan, implement, and sustain high performing sales and customer service cultures that achieve...
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