Team Dynamics for New Hires:
Written by Abhay
Written in 2008
For young professionals starting their careers, one of the
biggest challenges in the first one or two years is dealing with the dynamics of
a professional team environment. They bring a variety of practices and
prejudices from their college days, some of which need to be discarded or
modified. Following is an attempt to analyze the goals of such newcomers and
the challenges they face, and offer a few suggestions on overcoming these
It is also important for managers to be aware of these
challenges that their young team members face.
satisfaction: growth, learning
happiness: friendship, cooperation, comfortable environment
carryover from school/college, need to prove attitude
are others going ahead, am I losing opportunities
between personal and professional relationships: is she just a colleague
or friend, is he friend or manager?
with bias: for example: men thinking women cannot perform certain
the Ubuntu philosophy: (from Wikipedia) A
person with Ubuntu is open and available to
others; he/she affirms others, does not feel threatened that others are
able and good, for he or she has a proper self-assurance that comes from
knowing that he or she belongs in a greater whole and is diminished when
others are humiliated or diminished, when others are tortured or
oppressed. The implications of this philosophy are:
‘showing off’ in meetings, or running your colleagues down, or trying to
honest about your true competency level.
of competing, focus on “continuous self-improvement”.
in group activities. Being professional doesn’t mean being ‘stiff’.
‘respect’ first: people have weak spots, recognize them and guard. For
example, teasing anyone based on physical looks, eating habits, dressing
style, talking style, his/her relationships, should be strictly avoided.
‘affection’ only outside the office: There is nothing wrong in making
friends (even ‘special’) out of colleagues, but do not pollute the
sanctity of the office – which is only for achieving professional goals –
yours and the employer’s.
In case of discomfort or misunderstanding, talk immediately, honestly, and
in private. It is better to have ‘known enemies’ than ‘unknown ghosts’.
Constantly improve your communication skills.
building exclusive clubs: Building ‘family-like’ environment is
different from building ‘families’. Constantly build new bonds, reach out
to new faces, cut across groups.
of sight, out my mind: Colleagues will travel or change groups. Don’t
follow them wherever they go. “Keeping in touch” is different from
between personal and professional lives: Avoid getting so attached to
your workplace that you have no personal life. A healthy personal life
(hobbies, relatives, friends, clubs, sports) acts
as a great buffer from shocks in professional life. Try to have friends
other than colleagues.
with bias: Nothing works like performance. It is best to ignore subtle
forms of bias, but any overt or open bias must be destroyed by first talking
one-on-one, then reporting to manager, and finally reporting to HR.