Solution Saturday: New to the Team

Dear Dan,

Executive leadership put me on a team, of people I like, but are afraid of me and each other. How can one work to build the trust of others they work with on a team they aren’t leading?


New Team Member

trust is the first concern of people who want to beome effective on teams.png

Dear New,

You’re definitely barking up the right tree. Trust is the first concern of people who want to become effective on new teams.

Declare yourself to individuals:

  1. Practice transparency by declaring your desire to connect and build trust.
  2. Ask for advice.
  3. Avoid making public declarations. It looks like showboating.
  4. Avoid the appearance of favoritism. Begin with those who seem most open, but include everyone. 

Use low tones:

Brash, loud, and aggressive invites people to build walls. Good manners matter. Use please, thank you, and titles.

  1. Quiet isn’t weak.
  2. Stand up for your values with kindness.
  3. Disagree with compassion.
  4. Stay open to alternatives.
  5. Ask, “What do you think.”
  6. Tell people what you think, if you don’t, you look shady.

Dirty jobs:

  1. Take on a job that others don’t want, but don’t allow yourself to be the “garbage man” who always does the dirty work.
  2. Solve a problem.
  3. Make things better for others.

Big ears:

Listen for:

  1. Motivations. When you learn what motivates a person, you learn how to influence them.
  2. Frustrations. Empathize don’t whine. Leaders face into the future even when discussing the past. Don’t affirm frustrations that are centered on others.
  3. Goals. What do they want?

Say no:

Be helpful, not slavish. Boundaries say you respect yourself.

Connect socially:

  1. Go out after work or for lunch in small groups.
  2. Avoid one-on-one social engagements when you’re new.
  3. Stop by a ball game where a colleague’s child is participating. Don’t stay long. Make an appearance.

What suggestions might help “New” build trust with new teammates?