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Bumping heads

In the beginning I've seen new comers waltz in team meetings with the perception that this new team works the same as the previous team. Then there is conflict and a sense of intimidation and insecurity. I've seen this is all of my jobs. I like to assess my surroundings and watch and listen to my new team and only then can I see how they work and who is the ring leader. I don't play devils advocate, but I do make my presence known and stand strong behind my opinion. However, I'm also a good listener. This is perhaps why it's not so difficult for me to intergrate into new surroundings. I do beleive that confrontation is good and that it's not always negative. Has anyone else ever been put in an intimidating situtation at work with a new team and how was it resolved?

Thank you,
Cynthia De La Puente

I would agree that it is difficult to blend into an existing team. I do not agree that confrontation is a good technique especially if you are new to the team. It is good to help the team all possibilities and then help them come to consensus as to the best solutions.

Ron Obstfeld

Dear Ron,

Thank you for your feedback, it's much appreciated. Wrong choice of word I used (confrontation)and your right as to helping the team with suggestions and best solutions as a unit is a better practice.

Thank you,


I too am the same way; at times. When it comes to working in teams, I’m the individual that will sit back and observe the behavior of my team members, as well as, listen to the items being discussed for a particular project. Sometimes that’s where the intimidation and insecurity come in, as others may not know how to perceive you. Over time, I would then become more interactive and more vocal when it’s decided upon whom is doing what on the project. I then become even more voluble with my opinion in regards to possibly objecting/disagree on any issues that may arise. Of course, there are those instances when conflict does arise; but I’m the one that tends to focus on bringing resolution, versus siding with any team member; especially when they’re being negative.

Now, as a team leader, I inform everyone that their opinions do matter and everyone can definitely vocalize their opinions; as all opinions should be respected on any team.

I have been in multiple situations when being assigned to a specific team where I appeared as intimidating due to my demeanor. I did recognize that if I’m going to work on teams, I can’t continue to be perceived in that manner, because I was being viewed as being “unapproachable.” Or, we don’t know what kind of mood she’s in today; when in all actuality, I was really okay. At times, a team lead can guide you, but I truly believe that person has to be willing to work on their interpersonal skills to work effectively in a team environment. What are your thoughts on the importance of working on self?

I'm not sure how Cynthia will respond but in my opinion, I think it is critical that work on how you are perceived by your teammates.It may be as easy as talking to them about your demeanor and that you are working on changing it. The team might be a great opportunity to give you specific feedback on your interactions with specific examples. It seems you are ahead of the game since at a minimum, you are self aware. Your next step should be to modify your behavior through feedback and maybe coaching by a trusted peer or supervisor.

Ron Obstfeld

I do agree that it is hard to blend in with an existing team, but you were placed on that team for a reason. Whether it be your knowledge, skills, or expertise, you placed on that team to as an assest, so your opinions and ideas should be respected just as any other member of the team. You should always stand firm on your ideas, but be open enough to listen to others critics and advice or opinions.

I wanted to say yes it can be hard for some to blend with a new team but for others it can be easy. I have found that somtimes people walk in with expectations instead of an open mind. I have experienced this from both sides. Joining a new team for me was easy because i was completely new to the company and new to the area. In changing my roll with a promotion one of my collegues who use to be my equal is now under me. That was a challenge at first because again somtimes people are not good with change. On the whole working together is important so open communication is good as well and i always tell her to let me know if something is wrong or if she needs to talk.

I am the supervisor of only 2 employees and this course content really applies more to large companies. Yet bumping heads happens more frequently than you think with a smaller group of people even 2. Maybe it's worse. I find the bickering very passive aggressive with 2 employees as confrontation is a small office setting can create a very uncomfortable working environment. I try to hear each of them out and get them to focus on what the other does do right as opposed to focusing their anger on what they feel the other is doing wrong. I try to turn a negative into a positive.


Good approach. If possible, you might want them to work together on small projects...alternating the lead person. Maybe if they work toward a common goal they may appreciates each others skills.

Ron Obstfeld


I would agree that it is difficult to blend into an existing team. However, confrontation may not be the best technique, initially if you are new to the team.

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