Important Questions to Assimilate a New Team Member or New Leader

When a new leader or team member joins a team, it is important to proactively assimilate that person into the team.  The quicker this happens, the less stressful it is for everyone on the team.  This activity includes a list of questions that a team can use to generate a healthy dialogue. Use these questions to begin to gaining knowledge about and comfort with the newcomer.

Special thanks to Dan Bolen of dBolen & Associates for sharing this process he uses with teams to help them assimilate.


OPTION 1 – A Formal Process  (When the Stakes are High)
  1. Email the questions below to the entire team (including the newcomer) ahead of time so everyone has time to think about how to respond.
Suggested Questions:
  • What do we know about <new leader or team member>?
  • What do we want to know about <new leader or team member>?
  • What do we want <new leader or team member> to know about us?
  • What concerns do we have about <new leader or team member>?
  • What do we want most from <new leader or team member>?
  • What suggestions to we have for <new leader or team member>?
  1. The facilitator first meets with the team (without the new member) and captures their responses on charts or a whiteboard. (About an hour)
  2. The facilitator then privately meets with the newcomer to share the team’s responses and questions. (About an hour)
  3. The entire team and newcomer, come back together and review the questions and responses, taking time to clarify and discuss which suggestions will be accepted. (1-2 hours, depending upon how the team and leader’s expectations align with each other)
OPTION 2 – A Casual Process (When Time Is Limited)
  1. Provide everyone with the questions prior to the meeting so have time to prepare.
  2. At the meeting, go through each question (all together) documenting responses on a chart. In this case, the team begins with questions or requests and the newcomer then responds spontaneously. (1 hour)

Think about what you and your team want to know about the new member/leader as well as what information will be help in return.  Set this up in a positive, open way to get to know each other better.  What other questions would you ask the team or newcomer?  Please share them in the comments below.

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