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How do I integrate myself into a new team?

How do I integrate myself into a new team?

After you've survived day one in a new job, you're next task is to make sure you become a valuable member of the team.

Get off on the right foot and it's going to be peaches and cream - foul it up and you could find yourself back on the job market sooner than you thought. No newcomer is bigger than a happy and efficient team, even if you came in with top billing and a salary to match. It's your job to get on with them and fit into their way of working, not the other way round.

Getting to know you…
It may be useful to try and get some information about your new colleagues during the process of accepting a job offer. As ever, information is power.

Try and find out how long each team member has been at the company, what positions they've held, where they've worked in the past and what the hierarchy is. You should approach these questions subtly; trying to slip them into general conversation rather than throwing a barrage of questions at them in one go.

You may also want to know if there are any romantic links between any members of the team so you don't put your foot in it. Again, be very tactful when trying to uncover this information.

As you start the process of getting to know everyone, be clear about your own objectives and what you want out of the deal. It's not necessary to like all your new colleagues, but it's necessary to put your personal feelings aside to create effective work relationships.

One of the big upsides of working in a team is socialising outside work hours and it's a wonderful way of building team spirit. As ever, though, it has its potential dangers. The longer the party goes on, the greater the chances of an indiscretion. Get a reputation as someone who is always willing to socialise, but who knows when the time is right to make an exit.

Be very careful if your boss joins you, and don't get over-familiar or say something you later regret. In the same way, always behave with respect towards those in more junior positions.

Know your limits
No one goes into a new job aiming to fail, but it's easy to make life difficult for yourself if you don't keep an eye out for a few common errors.

Top of the list is going in with too many expectations. Be realistic in what you aim to achieve, especially in the early months, and don't set yourself up for a fall. By the same token, if your new boss expects unrealistic results from you, address the issue quickly before it becomes a problem.

Don't be tempted to think you have all the answers. You may be coming in to sort out a problem, but take your time to get to know the operation properly first before making a snap judgement. Be careful not to degrade a process or tool – the person you're talking too may have been the one who designed it. Chances are, there will be good things as well as bad, and they'll need preserving. You don't want to come across as arrogant or a know-all.

Beware of overdoing it. It can be tempting in a new job to volunteer for everything with the aim of making a good impression, but stay realistic. Take on what you know you can do well, and always leave yourself a bit of elbow room in case the task takes longer than you first thought. Make sure that whatever you do, you do well and make sure your boss notices the effort you're putting in.

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