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4 Tips to Executing Well as a Team when a New Team Member Joins

By Patrick Thean

    Wed, Sep 18, 2013 @ 07:20 PM Accountable Leaders & Teams

    When you bring on a new team member, you do not have a new team member. You have a new team. onboardingThe effectiveness of your team can go up or down, depending on the team dynamics. How does your team interact with the new team member? Most of us don't think about that. Take a look at what is on most companies' checklists when you join the company:

    • Orientation: Introducing the new team member to the company. A great orientation will cover the company's purpose, core values and what the overall mission of the company is.
    • Work stuff: Business cards, email, office, laptop and if you are lucky, an iPhone.
    • HR Stuff: Sign up for health benefits and all the wonderful payroll administrative things that allow the company to pay you for what you do.
    • Buddy Program: A few companies will even have a buddy program to help you get acquainted with the company and how to find what you need.

    These are all good programs. I'm not knocking them at all. These programs are all about introducing the new employee to the company. None of these programs are about helping the team get re-created as a new team. 

    So let's talk about how a single new team member changes the team dynamic, how a new team member changes the team. Teamwork either gets better or gets worse. And teamwork affects your ability to execute as a team. It never remains status quo. Change just happened. Are you harnessing this change with intention to achieve stronger and more effective execution in your team? 

    Here are 4 things you can do to integrate your new team member. Take this opportunity to build an even stronger team.

    1) Learn about each other: There are many ways to learn about each other and allow for team bonding. Here is just one way: a 3 by 3 Exercise. Each team member prepares to share 3 things in 3 categories about their lives.  For example: 1) Who are your three heroes and what do you admire about them? 2) Who are the 3 most important people in your life today (and tell us a little about them)? 3) What are the 3 most significant events in your life that shaped you and made you what you are today? 

    Learning and appreciating each other's personal lives helps you to create a foundation of trust. You can customize this with categories that suit your team instead of the 3 that I provided.

    2) Use personality profiles to promote teamwork and understanding: Have each team member take a personality survey. Share and learn about each other's working style, strengths and weaknesses. This helps us further understand each other's point of view and approach to discussions and doing the work when we start working together.

    3) Dos and Don'ts to improve communication: Everyone has communication triggers. Triggers that make us happy as well as triggers that annoy us. Misunderstandings often stem from miscommunication. Have each team member share 1 communication trigger that annoys them and 1 communication trigger that they enjoy. I call these "DOs" and "DON'Ts." For example: "Do communicate with me using facts and measurements, I love those. And don't expect me to make small talk, as I tend not to say much unless I really have something to say."

    Knowing each other's communication preferences enhances our discussions and working sessions together.

    4) Break bread together. Share a meal together. Lunch or dinner, it does not really matter. Relax and get to know each other. Try and stay away from business topics during your first couple of meals together. Take the time to have personal interest in your new colleague and learn about each other.

    Now it's your turn to share. Let us know what you do to integrate new team members. Has your team's execution improved?  

    Thank you for reading.

    Learn to build focus, alignment and accountability; read Execute Without Drama by Patrick Thean

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