Joining An Established Team Sometimes, it is fairly easy to join a new office team when you get a new job, but often there is a bit of resistance. Occasionally, there is downright resentment, particularly if you are replacing a popular colleague who was sacked. This is not your fault of course, but the onus will be usually yours to heal the team spirit. There are certain acts of politeness that should always be performed whenever you join a new group, even a conversation or dining table. The first one is to not to talk too much straight away. You will learn more about the group by listening than talking or as my Dad used to declare: 'You learn more with your mouth closed than with it open'. You are the new boy or girl and you have to defer to the established group for a time. Use this time to learn individual's names and characters. It is disasterous if you come over as a know-all at this stage of your new 'friendships'. It is also best to learn how they do things at this stage, even if you know how to do them better. The time will come when you can explain your methods, after you have tried theirs. This is a time of deferment and learning. No one will appreciate you coming in and changing everything straight away, even if you are the new manager, because it will imply that they are stupid having been doing everything in the wrong fashion until you got there. If you give it time, you may even find that their way is better, once you understand it. It is also best to not talk too much about your preceding career. Nobody actually cares anyway and, since your future is in your current career, it is better to concentrate on that than on the past. Give a bit of praise where praise is due, but be careful of giving colleagues grounds for believing that you are patronizing them or toadying up to them. Work hard, pull your weight, but stop short of attempting to make yourself look as if you are sucking up to the bosses. Do not try any job that you know is above your capability without first voicing your concerns. Somebody will get assigned to help you and this is a great opportunity to make friends. Try consciously to become a valuable part of the group. If you require help, approach the problematic one in the team, not the friendly one the same tactic as in a fight. If you can turn this one, the others will follow. One good tip is to never argue with anyone at this stage of your association. If you lose you will have undermined your position and if you will you will have created bitterness. It is a situation where you cannot win, so do not try. Team building takes time and talent, just the same as building any friendship, but if you bide your time and work at it you should glide into the group like a ship off the slipway. Owen Jones, the author of this piece, writes on a variety of topics, but is now involved with team building activities for teenagers. If you would like to know more, please go to our website at Small Team Building Activities.
How to join an established office team