Empowerment Leadership Model for Small Groups, Teams, & Families
Course 5, Lesson 10
How to Help the Team Bring in New Members
Copyright 2001 Dick Wulf
When someone volunteers in the church, they should be helped to understand that they are joining a team. Often a volunteer thinks that he or she just needs to do a specific number of tasks with little responsibility to the team. But, new volunteers must quickly understand that teamwork is very important. This includes skills and actions that help the team function as a whole, help all other team members give their best to the team, contribute a host of helpful behaviors, and avoid dysfunctional behaviors that would hold the team and its members back from the best progress toward the team purpose and goals.
Imagine if the volunteer offer were stated like this: “How would you like to be a member of the team responsible for such-and-so? Your responsibilities will include being a helpful and contributing member of the team.”
Most likely, most people volunteering will not have much training on how to be a contributing team member. On the day that the new employee shows up for work, he or she will still know very little. This is where the team itself comes in.
As soon as the team has a meeting, it is important that the team welcome the new member and bring that person “up to speed”. By this I mean that the new team or committee member needs to be told by the team what is the team purpose, team goals, and already agreed-upon action steps. Then the team needs to go over with the new team member what the team has already decided regarding necessary individual and team behaviors. This will include the team’s decisions regarding how to work together, confidentiality, and a host of other considerations. Then the team needs to review with the new team member what it has decided are dysfunctional, destructive things to avoid. This will give the new employee an idea of how the team works and will speed up the process of assimilation.
All of this can be done by just the team leader, but that would be a gross mistake. If peer relations are to help the new volunteer perform successfully, the team leader must leave this task to the whole team. There is great value to the team as well, because reviewing its decisions and mode of operating will remind everyone of team decisions that might have been forgotten by some or all team members. This is also why this task of “filling the new volunteer in” must not be delegated to one or two team members rather than the team as a whole.
Next: The Team Leader Should Not Be a Member of the Team
Copyright 2012 Dick Wulf, Colorado, USA