Five Characteristics of a High Performing Executive Team

[By: Dr. Kim Hoogeveen]

How well does your management team function?  I am not asking about the talent of the individual members – admittedly no small matter – but rather how effectively they process questions, challenges, and opportunities as a unit.  Is their interaction pattern consistent and purposefully designed to maximize the success of your business?

If you struggle to answer the questions above, you are far from alone.  The questions posed can only be answered if you have a clear vision of what would constitute great executive team functioning – a vision often absent when MindSet works with owners and CEOs.  One can’t shape what you’ve not envisioned.

MindSet has taken a three-pronged approach to working with executive teams:

The first is to teach a vision for leadership that will be embraced by every member of the executive team – a set of principles that will serve as the anchor for how supervisors will lead.  This enables employees to experience consistent leadership throughout and across the company.

The second prong is working with individual members of the executive team, using MindSet’s Backbone & Heart and other assessment instruments, to help each member identify both their strengths and growth areas.

The final prong we address is the point of this blog: we have them look at the ideal.  MindSet has identified 10 attitudinal and behavioral qualities that characterize exceptionally high functioning executive teams, and we challenge our clients to assess their current functioning against this ideal.   We almost always find room for growth, with our involvement then being to help that team move closer to that ideal.

Here are five of the ten key attitudinal and behavioral patterns we look for and assess when working with executive teams:

  • An inclusive sense of accountability for the entire enterprise – with individual egos tied to the whole, and a noticeable absence of silos within the operational structure.
  • A high degree of trust among team members who actively support and look out for one another, including a readiness to pick up slack for one another when needed.
  • A sense of cohesiveness within the group that is noticeable to others. Interactions are marked by unconditional acceptance; there are solid friendships, but no clicks.
  • Members interact with openness and candor; intellectual conflict is embraced as a healthy sign of passion and vitality.
  • Members regularly do effective PR for one another, and there exists a high positive feedback ratio within the team.

Taking executive teams through this process is some of the most productive time we spend at MindSet.  If your executive team is due for a tune-up, shoot MindSet a note at and reference this blog.