It’s important to recognize your position in a social dynamic. As consultants and contractors, we’re often brought on to As a new member on a team, you may be afraid of stepping on toes, or conversely that your ideas aren’t being given the same consideration as the rest of the team’s. Here are a few tips to make sure you’re merger with a new group goes smoothly.
Make Yourself Known
Immediately upon entering a contract that involves working with a team, make time to introduce yourself and your specific skills to each team member. Some people seem to be afraid that it seems like boasting or it seems too confident, but people will appreciate knowing where you stand in the project.
Also, take mental notes – or physical ones if you like – as to what other member’s specialties are, how long they have been on the project, and how you might be able to work with them.
Don’t be afraid to extend invitations to extracurricular hang-outs. Getting the team together for a beer isn’t the leader’s job, it can be anyone’s idea and always improves morale.
Don’t Be Walked On
You’ve signed a contract, keep that in mind. Your contract details specific work that you are expected to do. Strike a balance between being an exceptional employee – doing extra work, putting in extra time – and being walked on – doing too much work, accepting tasks outside of your expertise.
Hopefully you wont work under someone who asks things of you which are outside of your realm of comfort or skill, but it may happen. In this case, you need to be sure you’ve followed the next tip:
Just like any relationship, a team’s social dynamic relies heavily on communication. How we interact with each other defines our relationship with them. In my experience settling internal team disputes, I have found that frequently, the opposed parties simply have not spoken about the issue. “Ariel was taking my clients!” Very quickly becomes “I did not know she was in charge of that account, I’ll hand it back over to her.”
Communication is such a simple idea but few people truly know how to leverage it.
These three tips form the basis of integrating yourself into a team. Particularly focusing on communication, you will find that many of your anxieties about integrating will be let go. Integration with a group is all about forming comfort, as an outsider, you will be seen as alien, initially. Get rid of that fear by making sure you become known and that you show a clear interest in knowing the other members of the group. Finally, and I know I don’t have to say this, do your work well and you will be accepted quickly.