What makes a high-performing team or what we call a stage five team? The first element is high individual performers and number two is healthy relationships. Many times, we as leaders have people on our teams who are not performing at high levels or who have unhealthy relationships. It’s our job to make sure we have contributed our part in helping our team become high individual performers with healthy relationships.  

The Teaching, Training, Equipping (TTE) of VSTTEELE  

Many times, that’s our responsibility. Let’s think for a minute about what we call VSTTEELE which stands for casting Vision, Serving, Teaching, Training, Equipping, Empowering, Letting Go, and Evaluating. As we look at this model, we need to understand the difference between teaching, training, and equipping. If we use the example of teaching a group of people how to use an iPhone. We present some power points and give them manuals on how to use it. That’s teaching. Training is when we hand them the phone and they actually practice using it. If we did all that and then sent them back to work without a phone, they’re not properly equipped. It’s important to understand the difference between those three elements of VSTTEELE. 


It’s also important to understand the difference between delegating and Empowering. Often, we leaders delegate, but we call it empowerment. If we empower before we’ve taught, trained, and equipped, we can get our staff in trouble. Once we delegate, that leads to empowerment, so there’s nothing wrong with delegation. We just need to know the difference. Here’s an example. Let’s assume I’ve hired a new admin. When he or she comes to work on Monday morning. I tell them one of their responsibilities is to handle my calendar, and I show them this Thursday I’ve got four people coming in for lunch. They’ll be here at 11:30, so they need to bring in three pizzas, a meat lover’s, a veggie lover’s, some diet coke, some sprite, and a couple of salads with some ranch dressing. Now, that is delegation.  

Empowering (E) of VSTTEELE 

What does empowerment look like? Over a period of time, I’ve taught, trained, and equipped my admin about my calendar. Now, let’s turn the clock forward ninety days. On Monday morning, he or she comes into my office and says, “I noticed on your calendar you have four people coming for lunch. Are there any special dietary needs?” And I tell them no, and they say, “Your lunch will be here at 11:30.” That’s what empowerment looks like.  

What if they tap on the door and stick their head back in my office and say, “Oh, by the way, if you had put on your calendar no special dietary needs, I wouldn’t have had to bother you.” And that’s what relationship is. Now, they’re training me because that relationship is so strong.  

Letting Go and Evaluating (LE) of VSTTEELE 

After empowering them to fully take on the tasks needed for their job, I then let them go and launch them so they feel comfortable, affirmed, encouraged, and are engaged in fulfilling their roles. Then evaluating their work performance becomes an easy part of the relationship we have with them.  

VSTTEELE and High Performing Teams  

As leaders lead their team through the VSTTEELE process, they are able to discern those members of the team who need training to achieve higher performance levels as well as those team members who need help in improving their relationships with the team members, and the result is that VSTTEELE helps achieve high performing teams. Leaders who use VSTTEELE and implement its elements improve their team’s performance and the relationships within their teams. Team members’ individual performance levels rise, and the relationships are strong. Transformational leaders are leaders who strive to help their team achieve both levels.  

Ford Taylor is a leadership strategist, keynote speaker, and the author of Relactional Leadership. As the Founder of Transformational Leadership, he is known as a man who can solve complex business issues, with straightforward practical solutions, while maintaining his focus on people.