We have all found ourselves in a situation where we are either switching jobs or moving to a new team. I recently provided my two-week notice so that I could advance to an agile coach position at a different company. Along with the excitement of the new job comes the anxiety of working with new teams members and an unfamiliar company culture. Questions like “Will I fit in?” or “Is this a good change?” start swimming through my mind. To make this more difficult, I’m walking into a position where people assume that I am the expert.

Life changes like this are a great time to reflect on your attitude to change and others. What are the critical things that should be kept in mind when working with new people? What behaviors are the most important? In the brief time I had between positions, I pondered my approach to working with new people or starting with a new team. Here is my list of the top four most important ideas.

Assume the Best – Give people the benefit of the doubt. Beleive that everyone does the best they can within the time allowed using the information they had at the time. It’s easy to look back with hindsight to question the what was done, but don’t assume that poor decisions are intentional. (I’m sure you don’t want people to look at all your errors and believe ill intent.)

Be Humble – You DON’T know everything, period. We all can learn something from others, even if you are considered an expert. Others will have a different perspective on a situation and see an issue in an entirely different light. Spend some time trying to understand their perspective assuming you missed something. If you still have a difference of opinion, Assume the Best.

Be Kind – Say thank you. A smile and a kind word can help alleviate a stressful situation. Laugh. Be respectful to everyone, from the CEO down to the janitor cleaning the bathrooms. Regardless of how people treat you, treat them better.

Be Helpful – Find a way to help your new team as soon as possible. What you do might be small at first, but it builds relationships and fosters a team mentality. Let people know right away that you are dependable. Not sure what you can do to help, ask!

These four ideas are just the tip of the iceberg. What have I forgotten? What items would you include?

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