When starting a new job, you arrive with the wealth of all your experiences from your previous role; all your lessons and achievements and yet still have so much to prove as the newest person to the team.
It is hard to remember that you are a blank page, with the impression you made in your interview acting as a watermark. Bridging this gap and cultivating the right impression is often the concern that plagues us the most in a new role.
Ironically, trying to gauge an understanding of how people are viewing you can often lead to more confusion about whether you are liked and doing a good job. Instead, there are only three things you need an understanding of in order to achieve success in your new job.
1. Understand Your Role
Introducing yourself to other employees, joining the gang for some afterwork drinks and nailing small talk in the kitchen are wonderful ways to integrate emotionally into a new role and team.
We spend many hours at work and cultivating friendships is a great way to not only better enjoy your time, but also a great opportunity to learn from your peers.
Getting along with your colleagues and feeling integrated in the team is important. However, if you’ve just left a role and a team of people you got along with, starting a new role with new people can feel both daunting and a little lonely.
In these moments, we often forget that our previous experiences didn’t start that way either, and creating connections with colleagues takes time.
Instead of focusing on fitting into the team, make your first concern diving deeply into your role. Get to know your role, immerse yourself in what the expectations are for you and how to accomplish them.
Doing your job well is what makes you a great addition to the team; focus on what you can control and let the rest happen naturally.
2. Understand Your Manager
Before managers, we have humans and humans can be painfully complicated.
Yes, in an ideal world, every manager would be a great mentor who is perfectly well suited for leadership. As we all know, not every manager is a leader and perhaps it would be inhumane to expect so much from imperfect humans anyway.
However, all is not lost! All we need to do is understand our managers – how do they work?
Is your manager an organised, numbers person which means that you need to prepare numbers and spreadsheets before the meeting as that’s the information they are looking for.
Or, is your manager more of an expansive thinker who cares more about your ideas and thought processes?
Understanding your manager allows you to know how to work best with them, and avoid taking things personally.
For example, your manager’s blunt tone may be because they are rushed and overworked – do they speak like this with everyone, is this their natural tone, and when things are quieter, do they take the time to respond more softly?
It’s easy to think of managers as the enemy, whereas in truth they are just trying to do as good of a job as we are.
3. Identify Your Bigger Picture
Why are you here?
Who do you want to be in a year’s time, and does this company support that?
When we join a new company, we learn about the company’s goals, direction and focus. Sometimes, we lose sight of our own plans and knowing where we would like to be helps give us a clear indication of what we need to do to achieve that.
For example, is there another department you’d like to join – perhaps your role is in sales and you would like something more creative?
In that case, it may be a good idea to get to know members in your desired team or see if there’s any training you could do to get closer to that role.
Or, are you looking to be a manager at this company yourself one day, in which case you would benefit from showing more innovation.
Unless you are experiencing unique issues that require the assistance from someone in HR, success in a role can be simple when you stay focused on what you need to do, remember your manager is a normal human with goals and insecurities, and stay aligned with your own personal goals.
4. Be Prepared To ‘Manage Up’
Look for areas of inefficiency where you can contribute with suggestions and improvements later down the line.
When starting a new job, you have a new perspective on processes and inner workings of the company you have just joined.
Raising this in due course to relevant stakeholders could be a valuable step towards your career advancement.
5. Get To Know Your Colleagues
Strive to form relationships with your peers in the early weeks of a new role, as it can get a little more more difficult to do so organically later down the line. Remember you only get one shot at a first impression, so think about how you want to be seen.
Getting to know your colleagues is a great way to integrate socially into a new team and role.
Creating these connections takes time, but it can often be the key to your future success.
6. Get Organised & Set Good Habits
A new job is a fresh start and a good opportunity to shed old routines and improve your organisational skills.
Use the first days and weeks in a new role to identify how you want to organise your calendar, set up to-do lists and understand how to manage your time efficiently.
Try to set some habits from the start such as focus time, slots to dedicate to training and time to reserve for mental health and self-care.
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