Beware of the New Employee

new-guyLet’s face it, we love new stuff- new clothes, new phones, new cars, new TVs.  If it is new, it is obviously better.  Many managers feel the same way when a new employee comes on board.  The energy and ideas that the new person brings makes the manager fall in love with her.  She becomes the chosen one before lunch.

A leader knows to temper this enthusiasm as they need to not only assimilate the new team member but also keep the current team relaxed and motivated.  The leader realizes that the fresh ideas and energy are obviously a good start to the new employee’s tenure, but without seeing their execution, team work, and a work ethic, it is hard to make them a star. 

In short, a leader knows that they need to see the following out of a new team member before deciding they have a keeper:

1.       Positive Attitude.  It is easy to be positive on the first day at a new job.  A leader knows that this attitude needs to last for months, even years.

2.       Great Team Work.  Listen to hear how many Me’s versus We’s the new person uses when describing her past experiences.  This may be the first clue that you have a diva.

3.       Strong Follow Through.  A keeper is reliable from day one.  Give the person tangible deadlines and see how they react.  Set up a good support system so your key team members can not only help, but weigh in on the hire.

4.       Grace Under Pressure.  A rock star employee never lets you see her sweat.  After your team member is acclimated, put her in uncomfortable (but professional) situations and see how she reacts.  If she cracks, she may need more training.

5.       Creativity.  It is easy to take some learnings from a previous position and apply them to a new situation.  Does your new team member consistently come up with unique ways to solve problems?  Or does she use the same few tricks and rehash them?

It is important that you give your new team member time to breathe. By making a snap judgement in either direction, you can risk alienating your current team and putting its performance at risk.  Take your time and challenge the team member before deciding how good they are going to be for your team.

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