The ‘Magic Six’ Behaviours of High-Performing Teams

In this blog we explore what are the ‘magic six’ behaviours of high-performing teams from our extensive research with some of the best front-line teams.

When you think about the best manager you’ve ever had, what makes them stand out? 

Maybe they got involved and supported the team, or they showed genuine interest in you as a person. How did their behaviours impact you?

Managers play a critical role in the performance of any team. Did you know that 35% of a store’s productivity is directly linked to its managers? That’s why at KultraLab, we’re on a mission to provide managers with the tools they need to empower and motivate their teams to succeed and deliver exceptional performance.

This journey led us towards our latest global study ‘The Secret DNA of High- Performing Teams’, in partnership with the World Retail Congress, the University of Manchester and InBeta. Since October 2023, we’ve set out to uncover the daily actions and behaviours demonstrated by managers within retail and consumer-facing businesses to foster a high-performance culture. Our Chief Behavioural Science Officer Amy King recently had the pleasure of presenting our findings on the World Retail Congress stage in Paris.

From our extensive research, drawing on over 4,000 data points and 200+ interviews across 50 high-performing teams, we uncovered six critical behaviours that help a team thrive, which we’ve termed the ‘Magic Six’. These top six behaviours represented 44% of the total evidence gathered from our research, compared to 19 behaviours that accounted for the other 56%. This gives us confidence that these behaviours are consistent across the various teams we interviewed, having a significant impact on their success.

So, what are the ‘Magic Six’ behaviours? And what did we learn from interviewing and observing some of the best front-line managers?

Team Support

Imagine a manager who leads from the front; who’s willing to get involved and help their team overcome obstacles. They’re not just focused on personal goals. Instead, they create confidence and cohesion within the team, leading to better performance.

Continuous Improvement

High-performing managers are always striving to raise the bar. They set clear goals and KPIs for their teams, continually track results and encourage their teams to go beyond their personal best. They look for efficient ways to make small improvements to improve ways of operating.

Develops Authentic Connections

Trust is essential to forming strong team relationships. Therefore, a great manager takes time to connect with each team member, showing a genuine interest in their personal lives, whilst allowing themselves to be vulnerable and give their ‘whole self’ to the team. We saw-high performing managers talk openly and honestly about mental health issues, and the importance of cultivating an inclusive environment for their team.

Drive to Succeed

Success doesn’t happen by accident; it requires determination, resilience and commitment. A great manager always has the end goal in mind, and they’re willing to go above and beyond to reach it, whilst encouraging their teams to do the same. A high-performing manager’s self-motivation has a positive, contagious effect on their team. 

Develops Talent

Growth and learning are central to the long-term success of any team. A high- performing manager spots regular opportunities to nurture and develop talent, encouraging members of the team to take on new roles and responsibilities and creating succession plans for them.

Communicates with Purpose

Great managers communicate clearly with their team, articulating goals and expectations with purpose and passion. They never just tell the team what to do, instead finding regular opportunities for team collaboration and discussion. Communication is two-way, not one-way.

How do your managers currently measure against the ‘Magic Six’? What steps would they need to take to be consistent across all areas?

Our research shows that the best managers strike a careful balance between the ‘Magic Six’ behaviours in two key ways: by creating both performance-driven teams, and nurturing team dynamics. By focusing solely on results, managers risk having great results with unhappy teams. Similarly, without the focus on results, managers risk having happy teams with poor results.

To achieve this balance, managers can benefit from adopting an agile approach, continuously pivoting between different behaviours at different times to meet the ever-changing needs of their teams and their organisation. 

By learning to harness the power of the ‘Magic Six’, you can help your managers tap into their full potential, allowing them to take their team’s performance to new heights. If you would like to learn more about how we can support your managers, please contact us at info@kultralab.com.

To read the full report download your copy here.