It can be very exciting to join a new team. But it also can be a bit daunting when you realize the successful track record of that team.
How can you make your mark? How can you get others to listen to your ideas? What if they don’t like you or what you have to say?
These are pretty normal questions, so don’t feel like you’re the only one who has ever felt this way. In fact, it’s probably a good thing to be concerned with how others may feel about you because it shows that you’re ready to be tuned into others and won’t be a know-it-all that others may immediately dislike.
At the same time, your ideas are valuable. You would not have been asked to join the team if others didn’t feel that way, so don’t be shy about speaking up when you have something to contribute.
Here are some way to smoothly join a new team:
1. Listen. The only way to fully understand the team members and their goals is to spend time asking questions and gathering information. Once you have a better picture of how the team functions, then you can contribute more effectively. For example, it doesn’t make sense for you to jump in on Day 1 to suggest recreating a process or product that failed earlier.
2. Widen your circle. Just talking to the current team members isn’t enough — you need to get the bigger picture of how things get done. Talk to support staff and outside partners (as long as you get permission to do so), who can provide a more complete picture of needs and concerns.
3. Leverage your strengths. You don’t have to make a huge splash from the beginning. But you can also start making a difference pretty quickly if you know your strengths and begin using them to help the team. Help various team members understand your strengths and vice versa. When you combine your strengths with someone else’s, the impact can be seen right away.
4. Curtail your ego. You didn’t get put on this team because you’re a mediocre employee. You were invited to join the team because people felt you had something critical to offer. Still, that doesn’t mean you’re going to be hailed as a hero from the first day. More than likely, one or two other team members will feel they need to knock you down a peg or two. If you stay focused on how to achieve results, you’ll soon earn respect from everyone as a professional who is more concerned with quality work than gaining recognition.
5. Find ways to connect. Invite team members out for coffee or join them after work at the local pub. Those connections are just as important as the ones you make inside the company walls and will make it easier for other team members to accept you.