By Gerald Walsh ©
Once the initial excitement of accepting a new job has worn off, it’s time to think about how you can start off your new job on the right foot. At this stage – for many people – doubts start to creep in. Will I like my new job? What will the people be like? Will they like me? Can I do the work? Should I take courses to learn new skills? Will I fit into their organizational culture?
Though starting a new job can be stressful, the transition does not have to be full of tension and anxiety. With careful planning and the right attitude, you can conclude a successful career change. In today’s blog, I will outline proven strategies you can follow to ensure success in your new job.
Prove what you told them in the interview
Whatever you said to the people who interviewed you, be sure that you demonstrate you can do it early on. For example, if you said you were good at web design, start to suggest ways the company’s website can be enhanced. Or if you claimed your strength is in motivating staff, start holding regular staff meetings or taking some other steps to prove it. All too often, candidates embellish their accomplishments in an interview. You don’t want to be left in a situation where your performance falls short of your boss’s expectations based on what you told them in the interview.
Make a positive first impression
You made a good impression in the interview, clearly. Now you have to carry this same impression into your new job as all eyes will be on you as you begin. Here are a few strategies to follow:
Adopt the behavioural norms
Every office has its own set of behaviours that employees are expected to follow and your failure to do so could cause irreparable damage to your career with that employer. Consider:
Determine the level of communication your boss wants
There are several relationships you will have to manage in your new job but the most important one is with your new boss. In particular, it is important to establish the frequency with which she wishes to meet with you and the depth of information she requires about your work. For example, does she want to assign work to you and know everything you are doing? Or,is she okay with a daily meeting or weekly update?
Whatever it is, you should be prepared to adapt to her style. If she wants to know everything you do and you prefer a lot of freedom, don’t resist it at the beginning. Give in to her way for the time being and build her trust level so she will give you more freedom over time.
Understand the scope of your authority
One way to do this is to categorize your decision-making into three types.
It is best that you and your boss clearly understand which types of decisions fall where.
Be respectful of the person you are replacing
When starting a new job new, you should be aware of the person you have replaced. That person may have left for any number of reasons: retired, fired or just left to assume a new job somewhere else.
Some time ago, I spoke with Peter on the first anniversary of him taking over as Executive Director of a member-based association. A year earlier, Peter had taken over from Don, his predecessor, who was well-respected and responsible for rescuing the organization from financial difficulties in its early days. Peter said he was acutely aware that he and Don were very different people in terms of age, background, management style and even dress. Peter said, “I was very mindful there were staff who had worked with Don for the entire 11 years he had been there and who had become accustomed to his style.”
Peter considered for a while whether he should change his style to match Don’s. Or, should he just be himself? Ultimately, it was a “balance of both” said Peter, and that worked well. He was still able to be his authentic self yet respectful of relationships Don had with staff.
Sort out the office politics
Whether you like it or not, office politics is a way of life in every organization and you need to understand and master it if you wish to succeed. Beyond understanding the formal organization and who has authority by virtue of their position, you should:
Stay in touch with your old boss
Technically, this is not a strategy for being successful in your new job but it is a smart plan to follow just in case your new job doesn’t work out. Assuming you left your old job on good terms, you can maintain a relationship with your old boss and past employer by:
If the new job doesn’t work out, you might consider returning to your old employer. At a minimum, you may need them to provide a good reference should you decide to move on to something else.
My Summer Reading List
Every summer I look forward to some downtime and catching up on my reading. I know I should read more fiction but I can’t help be drawn into all the excellent business, career and personal growth books that are out there. Here’s on what’s on my list for this summer. Let me know what you are reading. I will recommend these in future blogs.
Gerald Walsh is an executive recruiter, career coach, public speaker and writer. During a 25+ year career, he has interviewed more than 10,000 job candidates, completed hundreds of successful searches for a range of organizations and guided many individuals – from young professionals to senior executives – to successful career change. He is the author of “PINNACLE: How to Land the Right Job and Find Fulfillment in Your Career.” You can follow Gerry on Twitter @Gerald_Walsh and LinkedIn