September 11, 2019

68: Quickly Integrate a New Team Member

It’s hard to get into a collaboration groove when a team’s composition is in flux. Establishing solid relationships is critical to generating trust and a sense of good will. Any time there is a change to the team’s membership, there are emotions at play – hopes and fears about what this new person will bring.

In this episode, I walk through the approach I use with teams to help a new colleague–whether a team member or team leader–and the existing team quickly integrate and orient to one another.

The full episode guide includes sample agendas, ice breaker and story-telling activities, and leadership assimilation questions to help your team integrate a new colleague. Get it when you join the Modern Manager community or purchase the full guide at

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Read the related blog article: Building Cohesion When Team Composition Changes

Key Takeaways:

  • Anytime a new person joins a team, the team experiences a moment of change which comes with fears and hopes.
  • According to Bruce Tuckman, teams go through stages of evolution: (1) Forming, (2) Storming, (3) Norming, (4) Performing, (5) Mourning — it’s cyclical.
  • To integrate a new team leader, hold a Leadership Assimilation meeting in which the the leader and the team answer questions and discuss the responses with the goal of getting clarity and alignment on a variety of topics of importance. This sets a solid foundation for additional conversations.
  • The Leadership Assimilation questions focus on what’s important to the team and what’s important to the leader such as: What makes this team unique or special? What’s working well that this team doesn’t want to change? What are the new leader’s hot buttons?
  • When a new team member joins, the goal is to establish bonds amongst the team members and help the new person understand the team’s culture. In this meeting, the team can engage in a fun and educational ice breaker such as Two Truths and a Lie, and tell it’s team story: Who are we as a team? What are we proud of? What’s important to us?
  • By intentionally addressing these types of questions, a team can move more quickly from feelings of uncertainty to a position of confidence.

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