The secret to leading the perfect team

Many elements make up the perfect team. The key is bringing together depth of experience, global mindsets, external perspectives, gender diversity as well as other dimensions such as leadership, curiosity, passion and drive.

" The best approach may emerge from what some consider left field but others regard as a natural process."
Jo Mikleus, Head of Global Subsidiaries Group, ANZ

Two well-documented critical elements of a high-performing team are establishing diversity and building capability.

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Not only are they good practice, these factors have been found to make significant contributions to productivity, creativity, problem solving, talent retention and customer satisfaction.


Benchmarking internally is extremely important while extending quality checks to experts who come into the team from outside your organisation. Doing so offers a broader market perspective on what good looks like.

Diversity enables teams to utilise a wide range of perspectives to address challenges and opportunities. The best approach may emerge from what some consider left field but others regard as a natural process.

We know women frequently see things differently to men and we also know people who have global experience bring a different view to doing business.

Embracing diversity delivers many benefits but building a diverse team and culture which embraces different ways of thinking is not as straightforward as it may seem. It is human nature for leaders to build a team in their own likeness and this typically leads to furious agreement on ways of doing things.

For any leader, it's critical to be honest about your own strengths and gaps in knowledge, experience and expertise. While it may be more difficult to manage a group of people with very different ideas, the art of harnessing these different perspectives into a high performing business is a great outcome. Uncovered gems of talent can help a high-performing team operate at an even higher level.

Surrounding yourself with diversity and harnessing different perspectives need not only be confined to work. Quite often our varied and diverse experiences outside of work make us operate with greater effectiveness at work.


Even as you strive to build high-performing teams it is vital to build the capabilities of the people already working in the team and indeed colleagues from previous roles.

The key lesson I have learned about building capability over the years is while it is a significant responsibility for most business leaders, it is not always properly understood.

It goes well beyond simply giving employees the tools and training to execute their duties more effectively. There is a personal commitment to the process. It is essential leaders provide the right level of support to set the team up for success.

Here are seven ways to build capability in team members:

  • Identify skill gaps and formulate a plan to address them
  • Set up regular coaching meetings or reviews
  • Consider shadowing SMEs
  • Look at relevant courses
  • Nominate a buddy to accelerate learning and extend the support network
  • Embed learning by presenting insights and learnings to your team
  • Celebrate new found knowledge by proactively demonstrating new skills.


No team can work as a group of individuals. Leaders have a responsibility to ensure there is good collaboration and teamwork amongst everyone in the business.

A good way to do this is to have clear expectations on both what needs to be achieved in a business and how it needs to be accomplished.

Ultimately, by integrating the strengths of each team member with high-quality tools and a unique customer value proposition, companies can establish a robust platform to keep achieving targets.

Here are five essentials for collaboration.

  • Have a clear and agreed direction for the business
  • Set expectations on both what needs to be achieved and how it needs to be achieved
  • Integrate the strengths of each team member with high-quality tools
  • Embed your customer value proposition into everything you do
  • Don't confine collaboration to just your team, maintain a broader focus.

It is vital as a leader to facilitate and leverage the perspectives of various team members by creating an environment in which all views are valid.

Over the last few months, I have led a diverse team including more women, two members from operations in Japan and China, two members who have returned from secondments in Malaysia and Singapore and two members from outside ANZ.

The Global Subsidiaries Group was established to ensure multi-national clients of ANZ receive a networked banking proposition at the subsidiary level in every country they bank with us in.

The team is showcasing the success of diversity through the combination of varying mindsets, experiences and perspectives, all of which come from the common base of banking.

For team members, a mindset of continuous learning is essential right throughout a career. Remain curious about the people you work with so you can fully understand their challenges and goals and can best collaborate or present solutions to them.

The ultimate aim when creating a diverse, high-performing team is to create an environment that is non-threatening so people can share wins as well as learnings without fear of judgement.

Jo Mikleus, Head of Global Subsidiaries Group, ANZ

The views and opinions expressed in this communication are those of the author and may not necessarily state or reflect those of ANZ.

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