How to break the ice with a new team

Starting a new job is often a mixed bag, with enthusiasm and fear both being common emotions to experience. And that’s just if we consider the actual role itself. Throw into the mix new colleagues to meet and greet and even the most confident amongst us may find ourselves reaching new levels of anxiousness.

After all, new employees will inevitably have to find a way to fit in with existing ‘cliques’ and friendship groups despite knowing no one and have a fairly limited knowledge of the company and its processes and policies. With all of these things to consider, the early days can be fretful.

However, there are several things that you can do to ensure that you (as well as your new colleagues, if you are reading this from the other side of the fence) feel as comfortable as possible from the very first day.

Be proactive

It’s easy to take the approach of sitting at your assigned desk and keeping your head down until someone comes to speak to you, but if you take the bull by the horns and introduce yourself to as many people as possible the ice will most certainly be broken. Don’t be shy – take the opportunity to engage with your colleagues when the opportunity presents itself.

Similarly, concentrate on asking as opposed to telling when speaking to new colleagues. Some of them might be wary of a new person, so coming across as a ‘bragger’ won’t be the best way to start these new working relationships. Remember to listen more than you speak, and you’ll be on to a winner…

Be giving

Ok, so bribery is NEVER good, but bringing in some sweet treats during your first week or so will help a lot in establishing a presence amongst the team and is a great way to say thank you to your new colleagues for being welcoming and helpful. If, on the other hand, it is part of the office culture always to go for after work drinks on a Friday why not offer to buy a round or a bag of nuts to share… finances allowing, of course.

Be prepared

Some people are always chatty and naturally find things to speak about with people from all walks of life – others, on the other hand, might need to have a series of topics up their sleeves should nerves, and the potential for initial awkwardness, get in the way. This shouldn’t be too forced, of course, but if you sometimes struggle to make conversation having a few prompts (and open ended questions) to hand will serve you well.

Be helpful

Be as helpful and accommodating as possible. That’s not to say that you should be a pushover – obviously you’ve been employed to do a particular job – but instead of simply telling your new colleagues and bosses what you are good at, actually show them!

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