According to Andrew O'Keefe, author of Hardwired Humans, we can learn much about how to manage team dynamics from primates.
You see, baby chimps and gorillas are born with a tuft of hair around their bottom. This signals to the adult primates that they are still learning and so are afforded some leniency as they figure out how to fit in. But once that hair falls out, discipline, rather than tolerance becomes the order of the day.
Much as baby chimps can cause some disruption to a primate community, so can your new hires. Intentionally or not, your new employees may interrupt the balance of even the most smoothly-running team.
Luckily, there are ways to mitigate that risk. Here are three ways to help your newcomers fit in well to manage team dynamics.
1. Provide them with the team charter
The team charter sets out a plan for success, covering the team's mission, roles, authority, boundaries, operations and more. By sharing this with the new hire, they will have the best chance of understanding what appropriate communication and behaviour within the team environment looks like.
2. Provide tips for proactive relationship building
Help new hires understand the types of team dynamics your organisation prefers. Suggest they find out what others need so they can leverage their own work to help others achieve their goals. New hires should also be encouraged to ask for feedback regularly, so they know where to target their efforts for the good of the team.
3. Offer assertiveness training
New hires will also contribute most effectively when they understand how to take an assertive communication approach. Make assertiveness training part of your employee onboarding process to help your new team member:
Have healthy understanding of their value and rights
Openly voice their needs, but also accept criticism
Use workplace-appropriate techniques to convey their meaning
You don't have to take a wait and see approach when it comes to how a new hire will impact the team. Get proactive and give them the right tools from the outset - preferably during their onboarding program.
Greg Weiss is Australia’s Leading Career Coach. He is the author of “So You Got The Job! WTF Is Next?”. The book prescribes a proven, practical 7-step framework for new employees so they succeed, rather than fail their probation periods and beyond. Find out more about the book at https://www.wtfisnext.wtf/
He is the Founder and Director of Onboff an online training and coaching platform that helps HR specialists, coaches and recruiters to deliver exceptional onboarding and offboarding experiences for employees.
He also hosts The Keep: The Employee Experience podcast and runs CareerSupport365.