How to navigate joining a new team and succeeding in building solid relationships.
By Jenny Lloyd
LinkedIn is such a wonderful resource of information about an organisation and its people, it’s definitely worth doing some research prior to starting, so that you know a little about the team you will be working with and this will enable you to have some great ‘meaningful’ conversation starters.
Take the time to get to know everyone and by name! Starting with the receptionist when you arrive, as they can be your go to person for information on where and how things are done in those first few weeks. Never be the person that puts their energy into the chiefs and forgets about the indians, this is so obvious and really doesn’t make for a cohesive work environment and certainly won’t win you any friends. Plus, who are you to think you are? Acting like you are better than others in the organisation.
There is never an ok time for this! Never and I mean never engage in gossip, office politics or bitching, no one wins from this and its doesn’t say much about your character as a person. If you don’t know how to manage this or if you feel you have been put not a comprising position, seek out support and guidance from a more senior member of the team either your manager, a mentor or HR, they can help you navigate through this.
Before you come in as the whirlwind new team player, keen to change the world, take the time to get to know not only how things are done but WHY. No one wants someone telling them in their first week, that they can do things better. It’s so important to the success of your role that you give a reasonable amount of time and effort into existing ways the business operates before making changes. I promise you if you take this approach, your colleagues will be more open to your way of thinking.
I once had a candidate that took chocolates in to share on her first Friday in a new job and called it ‘Friday Favourites’. Perfect inexpensive way to introduce yourself to other staff in your first week, plus who doesn’t love a little chocolate, it’s such a great way to open the lines of communication and start a conversation.
Sometimes the biggest challenge in a new role is the relationship with the employee that applied internally and was declined a promotion. In this instance I think its really important to acknowledge their feelings and build a bridge for the future by establishing a way to work together. Otherwise this can be the elephant in the room and if the person feels disgruntled with the business and makes it their mission for your role to fail (and yes I’ve seen this happen before), it can be such an energy drainer and damaging to you plus they can also involve other staff/team members as well, making it near impossible to succeed, when actually it really had nothing to do with you at all.
Make the effort to attend social functions and get involved with organisational activities, what have you got to lose? This is a great way to ingrain yourself in the organisational culture and build relationships. Although its critical to remember to watch the alcohol consumption at social events, don’t get nervous and drink too much, that’s not the reputation you want to create.
If you want to be respected for your skills and capabilities from both genders in a work place, dress appropriately, there is never a time or place in an office environment for low cut tight clothing or super short skirts. If you can’t sit comfortably in the skirt, then buy a longer one! Simple. Guys this goes for you too, please don’t leave too many shirt buttons undone and a one size too small suit doesn’t look classy either.
Be smart about who your trust, engage but keep your cards close (don’t overshare) until you have worked out who the various ‘game players’ are in the organisation. And please make up your own mind and decisions on your work colleagues don’t be led by the disgruntled or unhappy members of the team. You’d be amazed how one person with a positive attitude can so quickly lift the team mates around them and be a positive influence to the organisations culture.
I hope this doesn’t happen but sometimes you can join an organisation and the culture doesn’t match your ethics and morals and you don’t believe their behaviour is business appropriate and well you just don’t fit the team…it’s ok, it happens. I’d suggest you start looking for a new role within your probationary period and politely leave giving useful feedback and find the right organisation for yourself, culture fit is so important.