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How to Manage Team Dynamics and New Hires



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.

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