How To Be A Proactive New Team Member

Being the new team member in an organization can be stressful and overwhelming. The desire to fit in, make a difference, and not commit too many “newbie” mistakes can cause stress and sleepless nights. One area where I see many new team members struggle is having a reactive vs. proactive mindset and approach to their new organization. A reactive mindset waits for opportunities to have influence come to them. A proactive mindset seeks these same opportunities and immediately has influence on the organization. This leads to faster assimilation into the culture of the team, role clarity, and awareness of how one can have an immediate and positive impact on the organizational vision and goals.

Through my experience in helping leaders on-board new team members I’ve learned 10 best practices which I believe separate the new team members that gain traction and have a positive influence from those that struggle to fit in and deliver results.

  1. Ask your new leader to review the team or organization's vision. Learn about the leader’s passion, strategy, goals, and purpose. Start thinking about how you can help the team or organization make their vision a reality.
  2. Review your job description with your team leader and ensure there is role clarity, clear expectations for performance, and measurements for success.
  3. Schedule time to meet one-on-one with your new team members. Ask questions to help you get to know them personally, about their role, what they love about the company, and how they see you helping them achieve their goals.
  4. Find someone that can mentor you (perhaps informally) over the next six months. This person should be someone that others respect, has a good attitude, and someone that is a team player.
  5. Observe the team dynamics and culture. Take notes on how things are done, what politics exist, how conflict is handled, how results are celebrated, and how challenges are discussed. Look for ways to positively influence the team and culture in these areas.
  6. Look for opportunities to immediately help. Don’t look at opportunities as “beneath you” or “not in your job description”, rather show people that you are willing to help the team however possible.
  7. Create a personal development plan based on your new role, the vision of the company, and what role you want to see yourself playing in the next two years.
  8. Don’t get sucked into office politics, rumors, or prejudging people and their skills. Often there are clicks in organizations and on teams that will try to get you to join their side. Have the integrity and courage to evaluate each individual and draw your own conclusions.
  9. Ask for feedback from your leader and peers so you can identify areas of improvement, celebrate successes, and know where to focus your time and efforts. Caution - don’t over ask this question, it might portray a lack of self-confidence.
  10. Make sure you are staying healthy in all areas of your life and in the most important relationships. Don’t allow your new job to keep you from the gym, eating right, getting enough sleep, and being intentional with those you love and serve out of the office.

If you follow these best practices you will proactively take responsibility for your personal success and quickly become an influencer on your new team. Remember to be proactive and seek opportunities while respecting the boundaries of the team culture and vision.

Make it a great day!

Coach Dan