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Flexible teams – How our new way of working and high performing teams intersect


Work has changed...

Work has changed. The way that we work with each other, collaborate, and achieve the level of productivity that we are comfortable with has changed. The world has been forced to adapt and embrace technology and a flexible way of working, and it is unlikely that it will changing back.

In 2020 the world was forced to adapt work with the first national lockdowns, subsequent lockdowns, the rapid adoption of new and rapidly evolving technology, and the implementation of a new set of habits and practices (mask up, wash your hands, and can we make sure that our cameras are all on, please?).

In 2021, it became apparent that the world and work was not returning to 2019 norms, and a fluid and flexible transition between work at home, work in the office, and work on the road, was embraced.

Flexible work is here to stay

At this point, it has become clear that flexible work is becoming the preferred way of work and is here to stay, well after our world returns to a level of normality that looks familiar. The proportion of employees who work partially or wholly away from the office has increased and continues to rise, and a mixed approach to work, adopting a hybrid model that suits workflow and physical location while allowing for the effective collaboration among teammates, is becoming a key marker of how flexible teams operate.

This trend is evolving to a point where employers must pursue such flexible approaches to remain competitive and retain their already high performing teams. This imperative is neatly summarised in a publication by EY in May this year:

“More than half of employees globally would quit their jobs if not provided post-pandemic flexibility”

High performing, flexible teams

Thankfully, the very elements that comprise a high performing team happen to be the very elements that allow a flexible team to be successful.

When considering what a high performing team is and how one might describe it, at Mapien we take a number of factors into consideration:

1. Connection, where each member has a strong sense of belonging that is based on having the psychological safety to be the true version of themselves without being judged, and having the respect for each other that there is not an expectation that everyone is good at everything, but being more mindful of strengths and having clear processes to cover weaknesses.

2. Clarity, purpose that is meaningful, goes beyond profit and upheld by a clear set of behaviours that enable high performance. This is not necessarily things like trust and respect, but a purposeful outcome that is clearly linked to performance like responsive when our customers need us.

3. Collective, team membership plays a big part in team member’s identity, we stand together, fight together, and make sacrifices for each other, while being mindful and celebrating our uniqueness and the strength that come with that.

4. Collaboration, vulnerability that we can’t be everything to everyone, and that we are able to unite with other teams to have a stronger and more sustainable impact.

These same elements allow a team that operates in a flexible way, to achieve a strong level of performance and produce something greater than the sum of its parts. Flexible teams require all of the above to ensure that they operate smoothly and with engagement and enthusiasm, while utilising and celebrating the strengths that each team member brings to the table.

Connection and understanding of the unique value of each team member paves the way for a clearer understanding of the teams purpose, allowing for a collective approach via a shared team identity that further enables collaboration.

Knowing what contributes to a successful flexible team, and by extension a high performing one, is only half the battle. How do we explore and discover the unique attributes that make each individual who they are? How to we develop an understanding of how we differ, how each of our strengths and approaches complement each other, and how our operating rhythm and way of work can be mapped according to our purpose, styles, and traits?

At Mapien we follow a data driven and evidence based approach, and psychometric assessments go a long way to providing us with the information that we need to ensure connection, clarity of purpose, a collective identity, and true collaboration. In both a recruitment and selection context, and also in understanding existing teams as they emerge into the new world of work, psychometric assessments provide unbiased and reliable data with which to inform the composition and management of high performing teams.

Join our webinar

In our next webinar on October 28, we will be exploring this in depth: understanding the imperative behind adopting a flexible teams approach, and how psychometric testing helps you to make the right decisions in new and existing teams.

Register today and join Dr Ian Haslam in the next webinar in our Mapien Radar series.

Connect with us

Want to learn more?  Contact us at and a Mapien Workplace Strategist will be in contact within 24 hours.

Written by:
Dr Ian Haslam
Ian’s consulting career and experience is backed by his deep interest in the application of science behind human behaviour, and psychology to engage clients and achieve sustainable results.