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What’s the biggest challenge in leading a high-performing team?


SmartPulse — our weekly nonscientific reader poll in SmartBrief on Leadership — tracks feedback from more than 220,000 business leaders. We run the poll question each week in our newsletter.

What’s the biggest challenge in leading a high-performing team?

  • Dealing with their strong personalities: 25.1%
  • Helping lower performers keep up: 14.8%
  • Getting them to act as a team and not individuals: 41.2%
  • Staying one step ahead of them: 8.6%
  • Some other type of challenge: 3.2%
  • There are no challenges. I love it!: 4.8%

High performers need to be a team. Clearly strong personalities and team dynamics rule when it comes to leading a high-performing team. Getting them to gel and work together can be the difference between distinctive or disastrous performance. Building a high-performing team begins well in advance of doing any work. A few critical success factors like hiring for fit, accurately assessing talent and building trust at the early stages of team formation can get your people pulling in the same direction. High-performing teams don’t happen by accident. They require you to focus deliberately on cohesion and trust to get them to perform.

Mike Figliuolo is managing director of thoughtLEADERS. Before launching his own company, he worked at McKinsey & Co., Capital One and Scotts Miracle-Gro. He is a graduate of the U.S. Military Academy at West Point. He’s the author of three leadership books: “One Piece of Paper,” “Lead Inside the Box” and “The Elegant Pitch.”