One of the greatest challenges for leaders is to build and develop high performing teams. This page explores what it means to have a high performing team at GitLab. It will also explore a tactical roadmap called the Drexler-Sibbet Team Performance Model that managers can reference to build high performing teams.
Through various interviews with executive leadership and managers at GitLab, we have identified a series of skills, behaviors, and attributes of high performing teams at GitLab. Many of these points are in alignment with our values. To operate as a team in a remote environment, trust needs to be at the center of the formation of the team. Additional skills, behaviors, and attributes of high performing teams include:
The Drexler-Sibbet Team Performance Model is an excellent tool to help build high performing teams at GitLab. The model provides a roadmap for a team and a common language. It is a simplified description of how a team works together that highlights the most important things the team needs to focus on to reach high performance. At GitLab, we can use it as a frame of reference to developing high performing teams. It can help Managers ensure new and existing team members know the mission and direction of the team by the following:
Let's explore the stages in more detail and strategies you can implement as a Manager in building a high performing team.
7 Stages to developing high performing teams:
Why am I here? Team needs to move from complete freedom to a set of “boundaries and constraints” that are needed to operate. The first step is to understand the purpose of the team.
Questions that need to be answered in Stage 1:
Stage 1 Manager Tasks:
Who are you? Team members share a mutual regard - the climate is positive, people are respectful and supportive. There is a willingness to be forthright, open, and free!
Questions that need to be answered in Stage 2:
Stage 2 Manager Tasks:
What are we doing? Explicit assumptions are made clear; individual assumptions are made known. A clear vision of the end state and what the team is working towards.
Questions that need to be answered in Stage 3:
Stage 3 Manager Tasks:
How will we do it? The team manages its resources well to make use of what they have to do the job. The team needs to understand how it will make decisions; how much control and influence are shared.
Questions that need to be answered in Stage 4:
Stage 4 Manager Tasks:
Who does what, when, and where? There is clarity so that the team can take off and move towards creativity. Clear processes in place that blend with the team.
Questions that need to be answered in Stage 5:
Stage 5 Manager Tasks:
The team accomplishes more than it is expected to. The team has taken off and creativity is fostered to reach new levels of productivity and results.
Questions that need to be answered in Stage 6:
Stage 6 Manager Tasks:
Why continue? It is time to give recognition to or celebrate the achievement of individuals that produce valuable work and provide results - take joy in what the team does.
Questions that need to be answered in Stage 7:
Stage 7 Manager Tasks:
You may be asking yourself:
How do I apply the model on my team?
Great question! To assess how your team is doing, we've provided a couple of resources for you to leverage:
These are a few practices you can implement within your team to help all team members reach high performance!
Another strategy to reach high performance is by applying Maslow's hierarchy of needs as a motivational theory to elicit peak performance from team members. One of the most important tasks of a manager is to elicit peak performance. No matter how well a team is put together, the team will perform only as well as the team members on it. Managers can improve performance through training and/or motivation.
Maslow's theory of motivation: needs cause people to have drivers that result in motivation. To maintain a high degree of motivation, we must ensure our team members needs are met:
Motivation has to come from a team member. But a manager can help motivation once self-actualization has been achieved. Self-actualization continues to motivate people to ever-higher levels of performance. A manager can create a result driven culture through motivation by living our values and emphasizing output.
The Drexler-Sibbet Team Performance Model is an excellent tool to building and maintaining high performing teams at GitLab. As a Manager, use some of the tactical steps outlined on this page to ensure your team has a common understanding of the direction of the team. Your team will be on its way to building a high performing team!
On 2021-01-11, we launched the second iteration of the Manager Challenge Program. During the Live Learning session and Async learning, Managers used the Building High Performing Teams model to plan how they will lead their team to high performance. We've posted the activity and roadmaps for you to leverage in helping your team reach high performance, and see what GitLab managers do within the teams they lead.
A recording of the second of two sessions can be found here:
The SSOT for the slides on this page can be found in the High Performance Teams folder.