[October 4, 2018] As leaders we often discuss the importance of bringing new people into our organization and helping them adopt the institution’s culture. Leadership means many things but to accept someone is a part of taking care of them. The U.S. Army has a patch ceremony that begins this process as a formal recognition that new members of the team are accepted.
New members of any team often feel left out and neglected. True, they have yet to earn the trust and confidence of other team members and that is to be expected. For a short article on this see my article from yesterday about earning your spurs and how leaders can use this as a way to better care for their people.
Accepting new people can be difficult. Many folks look for the negative in others, make judgments without basis, put themselves on a higher moral ground, have an uncaring attitude, or just don’t appreciate the work it takes to bring someone into their organization. Resistance to this is human.
That is why the Army uses a formal process, through its patch ceremony, to begin to break down the barriers between newcomers and old veterans. The ceremony is typically held with all members present to witness what is about to take place. All newcomers are stood facing the larger-number of current members. The commander then makes a short speech and physically places the patch on their left shoulder. They are then congratulated.
Of course, accepting newcomers (or strangers) is an ancient idea written in the philosophical texts of sensible men, millennia ago. The basis of Christianity is to love thy neighbor. It would be wise for us to listen to this advice and ensure that newcomers are welcomed by us.
“You shall not oppress a stranger, since you yourselves know the feeling of a stranger, for which you also were strangers in the land of Egypt.” – Exodus 23:9, the Holy Bible
Leaders who provide a clear pathway for accepting new people into the fold of their organization will find that the practical results have merit. Welcomed newcomers will integrate faster, be helpful quicker, and become more productive team-members. That is what leadership is about.