Bringing in a new Team Member

How do you do that? How do you bring someone in and help them feel like they are part of the team? How do you do it quickly and efficiently so you can all get down to making a difference in the world?

There are attributes all great teams share.

People in great teams share information about each other. They know about each other as people. They know each other’s history, families, values and personality.  They know what they have in common. Enlightened teams, know what they don’t have in common and value what each member brings to the mix. You can enhance that by letting team members have time to chat casually. That might mean having a welcome event for your new hire. It can be as simple as a tea and cookies break or pizza lunch. Give people a chance to explore a bit about each other before making them dive into work together.

Shared experiences are an important part of team building. That’s why team building exercises consist of unusual activities. It creates an experience that people share with each other and usually not anyone else they know. That means do things.  Watch TED talks together, start a book club, meet after hours for sport or hobbies, organize events within your community. One Real Estate agent I know is a master at putting on community benefit events.  Her team all show up wearing the same shirts – often made for the event. Yes, great PR, but also great team building.

Dan Pink says people need AUTONOMY, MASTERY and PURPOSE.

People need the autonomy to determine how to do their work within the context of the larger project. That comes when everyone is very clear about the expected outcomes for the project, their responsibility within the project and the trust of the other team members.  Communication, communication, communication! From day 1

People need to feel valued, that they are important. Invest in your people. Help them improve. Help the members of your team specialize and talk about that specialization within the team. Allow your people to gain mastery of their domain and celebrate that mastery within the team. Each team member should have their own training plan, designed to continually increase their value.

A Shared sense of purpose. When everyone knows they are all working towards one outcome, they know they belong to the team and they know what their contribution is and how it fits into the whole. Talk about your team why often. Every member of your team should be able to articulate that purpose. They should live, breath and work that purpose.

Everyone, not just your team, everyone needs to know your greater purpose.  Why are you and they spending their days? What difference will all of you make in the world?

Leave a comment


  1. Frank Smythe

     /  February 28, 2012

    Don’t create a company (team) with recycled content. Be direct, straightforward and honest…a rarity in today’s politically correct world. You may be wondering what this has to do with teamwork. In short, I believe everything. The dictionary doesn’t define words—people do. Words are symbols. They mean different things to different people at different times and places. Words vary in degree, too. This point is critically important to understand when it comes to words commonly used to discuss teamwork.

  2. Good point, Frank.
    I always go back to my favourite virtues: truth, courage, wisdom and beauty.
    People know when you are spouting rhetoric and when you are speaking from your heart. You can be using the same words, but the meaning is different. You can’t build a great team without letting people into your heart. That’s tough to do.

    • Frank Smythe

       /  February 28, 2012

      Good points. Which in turn begs the question – What do they represent to the members of each companies team?

      • Exactly. Our people bring their own experiences to the words they hear. Words are not enough. The true meaning is revealed by our actions, the way we do business and our company culture. Businesses with great teams have a vocabulary of words that everyone agrees upon, because they have shared experiences around those words.

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