Developing and Leading High-Performing Teams

The focus of this module will be an evidence-based approach to improving your ability to design and lead high-performing teams. We will ask and answer the question: What makes the best teams tick and what can you do as a leader to increase the probability that your teams will excel? We’ll also assess and discuss your own leadership style, and learn high-leverage tactics associated with five conditions that account for 75 percent of the variance in teams’ effectiveness.

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  • Read/listen to the materials listed above.
  • Once you have read at least the Bernstein, Haas/Mortensen, and Duhigg pieces, attend and deliberately observe how someone whom you admire leads a meeting with their team. Take notes on:
    • How broad and balanced the participation is and what seems to guide/drive it.
    • The extent to which you’d describe the environment as “psychologically safe.”
    • What seems to contribute to that sense of psychological safety?

(Please take some time to jot down your reflections on the following)

  • What are the 2-3 things that you do best as a team leader or member playing a leadership role?
  • What are the 2-3 aspects of your own teams and team leadership that you’d like to discuss and/or get advice about from your Leadership Academy classmates? From Board of Advisors members who will be joining us?
  • Think of a time when in-house counsel has had information that would have enhanced a team’s work, but the counsel was not brought in early enough. How could you (as a team leader) ensure that the appropriate voices (counsel’s and others’) are brought in at the right times?
  • How would you describe the structure of your team (for the team you are a member of and, if applicable, for the team that you lead)? How well does this structure enable teaming and the team's work?
  • How clear, challenging, and consequential is your team's direction or purpose? If each member of your team wrote down its purpose/goals in 50-75 words separately, and then you compared what everyone wrote, how similar would their individual versions of your purpose/goals be?
  • How would describe the culture of your team? How does the culture impact the processes, relationships, and outcomes of your team?

COHORT MEETING (Meet to discuss the following BEFORE Classroom session)

  • Check in with each other about your takeaways from Module 2.
  • Share the things that struck you most from the readings (either because they capture common pain points in your teams, because they reinforce things that you and/or others do well, or for any other reasons).
  • Discuss some of your responses to the reflection questions above.
  • Discuss how the changes over the last three years (e.g., teams that are more virtual, hybrid, cross-boundary, diverse, etc.) have affected you, your teams, and your organization.


  • Learn the dynamics of team development stages (Forming-Storming-Norming-Performing-Dorming-Transforming/Adjourning) and why each is important.
  • Learn six essential components of high-performing teams: 1) High Level of Trust, 2) High Level of Respect, 3) Commitment to Clear/Common Purpose, 4) Results Focus, 5) Skill/Will to Manage Conflict, and 6) Alignment of Authority and Mutual Accountability; and best practices to develop each.
  • Develop your understanding of Psychological Safety and discover best practices to develop this unique trait for your team.
  • Learn the impact of 6 common styles of leadership on team engagement and team culture.

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