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On Team Building: Introducing a New Member to the Group

by Mike McDerment  |  January 26/2007  | 

FreshBooks is growing – not just our user base (which crossed the 125,000 mark yesterday) – but our staff. As our company grows I am working hard to ensure that me and our other team members grow into our evolving roles as leaders, managers and domain experts. To that end I have been thinking more and more about team dynamics.

When you introduce a new member into a team there are a number of approaches you can take, and based on their knowledge and what they add to the team, you should vary your approach. Personally, I believe in giving responsibility to new team members as a sign of trust – a project I know they will succeed at. By giving a new team member an important project you send strong signals of trust and respect to the new member as well as the incumbents. These signals are paramount. That said, once you have given the project over, you have work to do.

To ensure the success of your new team member with their project, you need to support them. Presumably the new team member will be reporting back to the group. This could happen in a series of meetings or one grand finale. Any way you slice it, it is important that you make yourself available to your new team member at reasonable intervals. You need to check periodically (daily, weekly, hourly, whatever) so that the new member can bounce ideas off of you and you can validate the work that they have done. This is especially important leading up to the presentation.

To ensure the success of that meeting, you need to be on board with WHATEVER is being presented. That way this new person has buy in. If they have that, then their presentation is likely to be a success. With a series of successes like this, the new team member is well on their way to becoming an important part of the team.



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