How do you find your voice in a new team? Even top performers are intimidated when they are the newest addition to a team.
Here are some ideas:
- Be confident.
- Trust that you bring value immediately. Validate this by checking the Chair’s expectations. Be assertive – somewhere between arrogant and diffident. Don’t try to ‘prove yourself’ on every issue.
- Contribute early and ask for feedback and correction, so that you can calibrate your input.
- Prepare. Do some groundwork alone, but also engage your new colleagues ahead of time about what they’d like to know from your perspective.
- Reflect on whether your statements pass the Velcro test – do they connect to what was already said and invite continuation from others? Are you clear how you’re adding to the discussion?
- Are you addressing the right system level? Check what the group means by
- a ‘detail’
- a ‘decision’
- a ‘useful contribution’
The social perspective also needs your attention.
- Work with the chair to fully understand the agenda and the goals.
- Get clear about the ‘rules of engagement’, which are different for each team.
- Defend your right to talk by identifying interruptions politely but firmly, being the advocate for your perpective and acknowledging when you have been given enough time to talk.
- Remember the group exists outside the meeting, so reach out. The trust you develop outside the room leads to your voice being heard when it really counts.
In a new team there are plenty of dynamics that might silence you. Remembering that you’re not there just for yourself, but for the people you are responsible for, can give you that extra strength to speak up – for them.