How to create high-performing teams - Anna Gullstrand (Mentimeter)

January 9, 2024

The formula of creating high-performing team can often seem like an elusive secret. However, Anna Gullstrand, acting CEO at Mentimeter during the time this interview was done (now Chief People & Culture Officer at Mentimeter when this article is published), sheds light on this topic with a clarity that is both refreshing and actionable. During our candid conversation in B2B SaaS CEOs podcast, Anna delved into the intricacies of building teams that don’t just function, but flourish.

1. Understanding Team Dynamics

Anna begins by emphasizing the importance of understanding the dynamics of a team. She likens a team to a garden, where each member is like a unique plant. Just as a gardener would, a leader must nurture each individual, understanding their specific needs and growth patterns.

2. The Role of a Leader

The leader's role, Anna explains, is pivotal. It's not about being the star player but about creating a space where each team member can become their best version. This involves understanding each individual's driving forces and aligning them with the team's goals.

3. Creating a Safe Environment

A key ingredient in this process is creating an environment of psychological safety. Teams perform best when each member feels safe to express ideas, take risks, and admit mistakes without fear of ridicule or retribution. This safety fosters innovation and open communication.

4. Balancing Autonomy and Guidance

Anna stresses the delicate balance between giving autonomy and providing guidance. Initially, a more hands-on approach might be necessary to set the direction and establish norms. However, as the team matures, gradually shifting to a more hands-off style empowers team members to take ownership and initiative.

5. Continuous Feedback and Adaptation

High-performing teams are not built overnight. They require continuous feedback and adaptation. Regular check-ins and open dialogues ensure that the team remains aligned with their goals and each other. It's about evolving together, adapting to new challenges and learning from both successes and failures.

6. Cultivating Diversity and Inclusion

Diversity in skills, perspectives, and backgrounds is another cornerstone of high-performing teams. This diversity leads to more innovative solutions and a more dynamic team environment. Inclusion, ensuring that everyone's voice is heard and valued, is equally crucial.

7. Conclusion: A Journey of Growth

Building a high-performing team is a journey, one that requires patience, understanding, and a keen eye for the strengths and potential of each team member. As Anna Gullstrand so aptly puts it, it’s about growing a garden, where each plant contributes to a more vibrant and fruitful ecosystem.

Anna Gullstrand's approach, deeply human-centric and grounded in psychological safety, provides a blueprint for leaders aspiring to build not just teams, but communities within their organizations. Her insights are a testament to the fact that high-performing teams are nurtured, not just formed, and that the role of a leader is as much about empathy and understanding as it is about direction and strategy.


Listen to the whole interview with Anna Gullstrand at Mentimeter - in B2B SaaS CEOs podcast where Anna and Josef discussed ow to create high-performing teams, Product-led Sales, essential KPIs, the worst and best things about being a leader, and much more.

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