HIGH PERFORMING TEAMS: How Great Leaders Build Them, Part 2


At Thrive with Strengths, we are passionate about helping busy leaders reduce friction in their teams while getting better results and building a healthy, positive culture.

In our series Healthy Teams, Thriving Not Striving, we talk to seasoned leaders about what it takes to build and lead healthy, high performing teams. They share their insights, best practices, and occasional missteps, so that we can all become better leader of leaders.

Recently, we sat down with Sejal Amin, CTO at Khoros. She is a creative strategic thinker with a keen eye for what makes others strong and unique. Sejal has a fantastic pulse on her team and great insights into what it takes to lead healthy teams.

TWS: Can you share with me a time when you had to recalibrate a team? Maybe you were new to the team or maybe the team members were new to one another?

SA: You know, there was a moment when the team did feel misaligned. The...

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HIGH PERFORMING TEAMS: How to Transform Your Team and Win!

How long does it take you to change a tire on your car? What about four tires on your car?

A Formula 1 driver and his team of well-trained pit crew members change four tires in less than 2 seconds. Watch this video and see for yourself! I guarantee that you will be in awe of the power of teamwork at its highest level.

Reality Check

If you are a leader of leaders, then just like a Formula 1 driver, you rely on your teams to get you across the finish line before your competitors. However, a lack of team engagement, performance, and positive culture can get in the way of your "race." 

The reality is that it is difficult to get the most out of a team even in the best of times. When you add the Covid-19 pandemic of 2020 with its remote work, social isolation, and a general team overwhelm, you have an extremely difficult situation at hand. According to PWC, “As the Covid-19 pandemic continues to evolve, there has never been a more pressing need for organizations to rethink...

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RECALIBRATION: 3 Steps to Take Your Team From Stress to Clarity

Have you ever heard someone play an out of tune violin? I bet that you were irritated by its jarring sound, far from the smooth and calming music you expected.

Are you leading an “out of tune” team? Do you have top talent and maybe top resources, but stress and friction stand in the way of the team’s success?

It might be time for a team recalibration and bringing clarity to your people by adjusting a few things or maybe even doing them differently.

What’s At Stake?

Your people’s engagement and productivity are on the line. The leading cause of stress, friction, and frustration on a team is lack of clarity around roles, goals, and expectations. A frustrated employee is only a step away from being a disengaged employee who has a negative ripple effect on the entire team.

But it does not have to be this way. Your team members can get on the same page and become a fine-tuned “violin”, making great music.

What Can You Do?

As a team leader,...

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REVEAL: Leadership and Self Deception?

Do you do it, too?

You know, excuse yourself to the bathroom during your lunch with an important client, so that you can smile at your reflection in the mirror and check for spinach that might be stuck in your teeth?

I can’t think of anything more powerful than a moment of honest self-reflection to help us grow as leaders.

Have you ever worked with someone who was self deceived and unaware of the impact they had on others? Maybe they needed a good dose of reveal - their strengths, weaknesses, and blind spots - and didn’t even know it!


Tom was a member of one of my client’s teams. He was amazing at what he did. Tom was also amazingly blind to what he didn’t do and that’s interact with his colleagues in a way that was authentic and genuine.

His colleagues described Tom as aloof, condescending, and unfriendly. The team was simultaneously impressed with Tom’s high IQ and frustrated with his low EQ. They were eager for their...

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REGROUP: How To Help Your Team Win by Being a Coaching Leader

“What’s the game plan, coach?”

That’s the question that a good coach needs to answer when his team is losing, the players are huddled around him and the clock is ticking.

If you are a team leader, then consider developing a coaching leadership style to help your team bounce back after defeat which is a normal part of teaming. After all, a good coach sees defeat as an opportunity to reflect, assess, and reassemble the team for the win.

In my experience, team leaders with a coaching leadership style often use a team regroup to fight defeat or a setback. No pointing fingers, only “positive intent” and making the most of each other’s strengths.

Think About It.

Team regroup is like a huddle for the team.

If you have ever played a team sport, then you know the power of a coach’s timeout when the team is losing. In basketball for instance, 1 minute and 15 seconds is all that a good coach needs to give his players a break, remind...

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PRAISE: It's What a Great Leader Does to Transform a Team!

A great leader recognizes that praise can be a lot like fall leaves, brilliant but short-lived.

Have you ever seen fall colors in the Northeast?

I can still remember the first time I saw fall foliage in the Adirondack mountains. Those brilliantly colored leaves took my breath away. And then, within just a few days, the leaves were on the ground, exposing the bare trees.

Are you a team leader who wants to encourage the best out of his people?

Don’t let praise fall to the ground! Instead, consider it your “super tool.” Use it often and use it generously to make your people feel valued and appreciated, rather than unseen and ignored for what they bring to the team.

Fact #1 - Praise Fuels Performance

Research tells us that praise is one of the most effective tools for increasing performance on a team and a great leader knows that. Let’s go back to our leaf analogy. A tree gets its energy through its leaves to produce amazing fruit at harvest time. Likewise,...

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PARTNER: How Authentic Leadership Accelerates Strong Partnerships on a Team

Have you ever considered how important your authentic leadership is in creating a team that’s healthy and in-sync?

I think that stepping into a partnership with an inauthentic leader can feel as frustrating as struggling with a zipper that just won’t budge, despite our tugging and pulling. It leaves us drained, exposed, and stalled on the way to our results.

On the flip side, when two authentic leaders step into a partnership, they both feel energized, included, and in-sync with one another. The team becomes more engaged and productive because the team members trust to have each other’s back.

If you are a team leader whose team is plagued by friction and frustration, are you modeling authentic leadership to your people and encouraging them to do the same?

What’s At Stake?

Your money and your wellbeing.

Research tells us that when we have just one partner at work we trust, we are more engaged. For example, we are 29% more likely to say that we will stay with...

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PIVOT: 3 Steps a Good Leader Takes to Focus a Team

Have you ever felt lost?

A good leader does his best to keep his team’s focus on the key metrics. If he doesn’t, his people are prone to feel lost, aimless, and unproductive.

It’s like deciding to explore a new city, but without a GPS to show us the way. Confusion and frustration quickly cloud the initial excitement when we don’t know which direction will get us to our destination.

I have worked with many teams that felt aimless and confused about which direction they should go, because they didn’t have a team agreement on their key objectives to show them the way.

They needed a team pivot.

What Is a Team Pivot?

A team pivot is a process of aligning the team around key metrics, measures, or key objectives. A good team leader shifts the team from aimless to focused by defining the new direction. He expects team members to agree to the same rules of engagement and work together to reach their goals.

Are you a team leader who wants to keep his team...

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COMMUNICATE: Principle of Leadership That Makes or Breaks a Team?

If you are a team leader, what principles of leadership set you apart from other leaders of leaders?

After all, we all have guiding beliefs that define our leadership styles. Some of us care deeply about people. Others of us go out of the way to be vulnerable and approachable. And still others offer our exuberant energy to mobilize teams to action.

Regardless of the principles that guide you to success, how you communicate with your people is an important factor that can impact your effectiveness as a leader.

Principle of Leadership #1 - Choose Your Words

I think that helping a team to communicate well is a lot like gardening.

I don’t garden, but I have a lot of experience watching my husband fight for his crops every year in the scorching Texas sun.

First, he chooses the right seeds to plant. Second, he observes the seeds as they grow, so that the plants thrive without any pesky weeds overshadowing them.

If you want to see more trust and compassion between your team...

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COLLABORATE: 3 C(S)ecrets of Good Leaders and Their Strong Teams

Have you ever played tug-of-war?

You know, it’s that simple game that automatically turns a group of often random players holding the end of a rope into a unified team that is working together to win!

If you are a good team leader then you are most likely looking for ways to do the same with your people. You are looking to shift them from individual contributors working side by side to a tight and cohesive team, right?

Consider the 3 C’s of the tug-of-war. They are the not-so secret keys to unlocking ways your team can collaborate better and become more unified.

1st C - Conflict

What is at the heart of tug-of-war? Conflict. Each team is staring down their end of the rope, convinced that they are stronger, more strategic, and resilient than the other team.

A good leader recognizes that if he gets two people in a room, chances are good that they will disagree about something. There is nothing wrong with conflict between team members as long as they step-out of it...

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