In this day it’s very common for companies to shuffle teams and move around people depending on where they are needed or where the company is shorthanded. And one of the major challenges faced is that of effective team building. While the companies face the challenge of team building, the individuals have their own issues to deal with - fitting in.
It’s often the toughest part, isn’t it? With regular transitions happening, it often a struggle between trying to form a good impression vs not trying at all because you’re going to move on sooner or later. But it is vital to develop a healthy first impression and make fitting in that much simpler. While the first impression is the easiest to form, the second impression takes longer to form, and it is the one that’s going to affect your relationships with your teammates in the long run. The easiest, most painless way out of this is to be confident and be yourself, all the time. At this point, it is important to remember that you do not have to worry about being judged. By simply being yourself your teammates develop a sense of confidence in who you are, and it plays a key role in developing a level of trust required for the smooth functioning of the team.
Being someone other than yourself, boasting and outright lying to nail those perfect first impressions is a terrible, terrible thing to do and wouldn’t be sustainable in the long run. Imagine telling your teammates that you were rowing champion, and during a team building sessions in the great outdoors, you find yourself stuck in the middle of the river on a boat. It would probably not be the ideal time to let them know that you weren’t one, would it?
Another thing that can ruin your experience, as well as your teammates’, is by bringing up your previous team and experience a little too often. People switching between teams often carry their experience with their previous team, good or bad, into the new one. “That’s not how we used to do it back then, back there” isn’t probably the right thing to bring up when you don't like the way something is done or have a way you think is better. It shows a lack of respect for your current teammates and might even come out as outright snobbish.
And it’s not a matter of saying things, but also just having it on the back of your mind. It is going to constantly cause you to make unnecessary comparisons and lead to a lot of frustrations resulting in a drop in your effectiveness. Advice: always keep an open mind, take some time to understand the dynamics of the team and have faith in your current team. If you think your old team’s practices can yield a better result, politely suggest that you try it.
Apart from creating an impression another thing you could do is jump to conclusions regarding your teammates. People are always looking to form an opinion, and we are no different, and that is often the reason why first impressions are the easiest to make. And while, it’s not wrong to have one about your teammates, the key thing is to try and not stick to it. You need to remember that all people are all unique, different and beautiful in their own ways and sometimes it requires a little bit of time to understand them. Also, if you see that someone is an introvert, try and bring them into the conversation as much as possible. While you might not have that issue with an extrovert, it’s important to make sure that you hold them accountable and ‘walk the talk’.
It might all sound a little complex, but it’s simple really - don’t be quick to judge people, avoid having any preconceived notions and biases, be more empathetic and accommodating of all kinds of people.
One mistake we all do in our professional life is that we hear but don’t listen. Many of the projects are time oriented, and people are more invested in the project itself and not the people. This creates a communication gap and affects the overall performance of the team.
Know your teammates
So it’s important to take some time to know your teammates; you don’t need to know them inside out, like know their favourite colour or their stance on the current politics of the world. But more in terms of where they are coming from, where their expertise lays et al. This will make it easier to communicate to your teammates and more importantly, get your point across.
There are going to be issues and situations that you are not comfortable with. Many people shrug it off saying that it's part of the switch. While it may be partially true, it’s always good to bring it up to the team leader and see if it can be sorted out. Discomfort can lead to frustrations and reduction of effectiveness and to even further frustration. Never keep your troubles to yourself as much as possible. Instead, talk to your teammates and/or team leader about it and look for ways to alleviate the root cause of it.
While transitions often happen on the basis of expertise, it might not always be the case. Often, you might find yourself facing hurdles and coming across areas you might not be particularly good at. However, instead of pushing it away, try and give it a shot and sometimes, you might even realise that you are good at it and maybe even like it. In this day and age, it’s absolutely vital to developing your skill set to remain relevant in your field. By actually trying to do something outside of your comfort zone, you can probably learn more than actually going for a course for it on a later date. You can even join courses on your related fields to develop a more profound level of understanding about your field and approach problems from different perspectives.
Work as a unit
A successful project depends on the individuals working on it and how they perform as a cohesive unit. With the current trend of short term, project-oriented teams and transitions between them, it’s become more and more important to develop your people skills to keep up with it. The above guide only offers an overview of what you can do and is not a definitive list of what you should. The most important thing is to be true to yourself and above all keep your mind open to everything you might have to face. After all, every experience you face in every team and every project makes you a little wiser.
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