Joining a new team with a new supervisor is a source of significant change and stress for a lot of people. Not only do we need to perform our new role and the associated responsibilities – and perform them well, we also need to understand and navigate our dynamics with the new team and the expectations that our new boss has of us. These are all completely separate stressors but they all often need to be managed simultaneously.
So, what are some of the changes that are inherent in this situation?
1. You bring your learnings and insight from your previous work experience to the new situation. While some of them would be relevant to the new context, many would need to be unlearned or overwritten.
2. Your new boss is someone you do not know very well (in most cases) and it is likely that it will take you some time to understand his/ her expectations of you and style of management.
3. Your new team is also likely to consist of people you have not worked with before and do not know very well.
4. Your responsibilities as a member of this new team might be quite different compared to what you are used to doing.
So, how can you do your best in this situation?
Get to know your team/ boss prior to joining the team, if possible. If not, show interest in learning about them once you start working alongside, not just as colleagues but also as people. The idea here is not to get intrusive and start asking too many personal questions but to let them know that you can empathise with the everyday struggles of their lives as well. A good way to do that is to make small talk that is not entirely superficial, listening actively when people talk and sharing something about yourself that lets your teammates know that you are open and looking to connect genuinely. These are also good ways to build strong relationships with people who can support you when you need it.
Have a conversation with your new boss about their expectations of you and figure out ways of meeting those expectations together. Also, if you feel you will need certain types of support or resources to be able to meet your goals best, ensure that you secure those resources by communicating with your boss as well. In the initial conversation(s), it is important to understand their style of management and how they prefer to communicate with their team members. For example, while some managers prefer face to face exchanges, some might just favour email.
2. Try to perform well in an area that is important to your boss: This will not only demonstrate that you understand what your boss cares about and what her/his larger goals for the organization are, it is also a way to establish yourself as an ally that he/ she can trust for support and collaboration.
3. Be careful not to over-commit and under-deliver – Often, we feel pressured to promise a lot as a new team member but it is important to be realistic when assessing what we can deliver within a reasonable amount of time, with the resources at our disposal. Inability to deliver what we promised will not only impact our impression on our boss but is also likely to decrease our credibility with our teammates.
4. Offering to Help: A great way to fit well with a new team and a new boss is to offer to help out with something that has been a source of struggle for them. Think about your strengths, what you can bring to the table and then offer solutions that you think would work well. Be careful not to sound too critical though. We can get over-enthusiastic in diagnosing problems when we have just come on board in an attempt to be useful. It is important to hear out the perspective of those who have been around longer in order to understand their position better and offer reasonable and relevant solutions. One way to get people to support your ideas is to share your thought process and how you arrived at the conclusion or solution. This enables people to feel like they were part of the journey and trust you, over time.
5. Ask for guidance: It is important that this be a sincere request and not just something you do to find favour with the new team. If you do not know how to do something, reach out to someone on the team and ask them to teach you. This highlights both your humility and your desire to learn things you do not already know.
It helps to think of such a move as a brand new opportunity to take initiative and responsibility for something and doing it the best way you can. Becoming an indispensable part of a team involves taking ownership of your role and driving it to the best possible conclusion. If you are able to understand what and how you can add to the team and to your boss’s overall vision, you will find that your transition will be easier and be rewarding for everyone involved.
If you feel like you are struggling to a certain extent with managing the ups and downs of a new situation like this, reach out to us at 1800-270-1790 or book an appointment here.
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