Have you ever worked in a department or organisation where a new colleague joins the team? Here are five simple strategies I have pulled together based on my observations over the years where I have seen some colleagues crash and burn and others flourish. I’m sure you will have your own additions but here are my top 5 :

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  1. Being forthright- a good thing?

    Anthony Robbins international Life Coach notes how many of us respect the person who takes a stand for what they believe in even if we don’t agree with ideas about what is right or wrong. Its a good skill to own. However, expressing your political or personal values on arrival to your new dept. unless you have undertaken conflict management classes could be potentially explosive! Your views should mirror the organisations values and beliefs. If not ask yourself am I working for the right organisation?

    2 Foster a positive relationship with your Manager


    It is critical to your role that you are able to foster a positive and effective working relationship with your line Manager. If your new to your job you may overhear your colleagues with a differing viewpoint which could be held for a number of reasons. Their working relationship and remit may differ from yours. It is important that you build up good rapport. This point does not imply that an open and honest debate cant be had with your manager in the future on work related matters, but unless you already know your Manager,your going to find it pretty tricky to navigate the twists and turns in a new job! Your Manager is critical to how you develop and build trust in your new ‘family’ .Manage your assumptions and work hard to develop synergy between your Manager and self. Dont make an enemy of the boss.

    3 Dont be negative -its toxic

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That Monday morning feeling when your negative colleague greets you with a downbeat comment can if you let it, set the tone for the rest of the day. Often this type of colleague can have a pervasive effective on the whole dept or close colleagues, making an environment toxic with almost everything they touch. If left untouched, this attitudinal virus can have a damaging effect on productivity and possibly the following:

  • A marked decrease in the morale in the team
  • Team members unwillingness to go the extra mile.
  • Passive/aggressive behaviour.
  • Antagonism in the team.
  • Increase in sickness.

also If unchecked, such behaviour could have a negative impact on productivity, customer service and other key deliverables. Who wants to be around a toxic colleague?

4 Welcome to the ‘family’


Try to get along with your ‘work family’. You can’t choose your biological family and telling a family member to ‘never darken your door again’ or have a blazing row with a family member, still makes you a family member. However, this kind of behaviour in the workplace ‘family’ will be viewed much differently!

Google, Apple and UK companies use the metaphor ‘family’ and in these cases staff are treated to specific staff discounts and benefits in return for upholding an organisations vision and achieving other health and well-being workplace initiatives.It can be argued that fostering a caring environment for staff improves productivity and reduce sickness.

Within a real family usually everyone knows their role how it fits and understands the norms and expectations within the wider community. If these expectations in general aren’t met, then dysfunction for one reason or other can arise.There are some similarities to the work ‘family’.

To help understand how one can fit into into a new dept. the British researcher and management theorist Dr Meredith Belbin developed a concept to enable teams to understand their position. Belbin saw the benefits as being able to provide a ‘language’ to enable teams to deliver on projects, conflict manage, tease out leadership skills and of course help your negative colleague to become ‘self aware’. Do you know your team role within Belbin?

5 Foster an inclusive environment


Fostering an inclusive environment where an organisation can recognise the diverse talent and skills of all of its staff makes for a welcoming workplace a positive culture, increased productivity good morale, trust amongst everyone, high motivation and a reduction in sickness.

Beverley Powell is also UK certified Life Coach and educator.

All images by DigitalPhotos.net

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