Gaining acceptance in your new job
Your first six months in a new job are like an extended honeymoon. If you’re a manager, you not only have to get to know your staff and how to implement policies, you need to reach out to your peers and establish strong informal relationships. It’s a little like getting to know your spouse and reaching out to your in-laws at the same time.
People are watching you to see what kind of person you’ll be. They want to know if you will be a good partner. You need to study the culture and fit in. And all of this must be accomplished while you are getting good performance results.
Here are some thoughts about what will help and hurt your credibility, influence and results.
§ A willingness to listen to your peers and ask their advice.
A big part of acclimation into a new culture is learning how to fit in with your peers across the organization. Seek out fellow supervisors, for example, and ask them about the rules of the road in your new organization. You will avoid mistakes, learn who to trust and figure out who does what.
§ Acceptance of coaching and advice from your manager.
Managers usually spend more time with a new employee than at any other time. They have made an investment and they want to get you up and running as quickly and smoothly as they can. For this reason, they will try to point out areas where they see weakness or potential problems. Don’t shrug off this help. Take advantage of the honeymoon and seek out advice and feedback. Don’t be defensive and thank your manager for their help…even if it isn’t delivered in a sophisticated way.
§ A desire to learn from your teammates.
The people in your work group will be kicking your tires, to see if you are going to be fun to work with, easy going and competent. If you are too focused on your job and don’t reach out to your colleagues, you could look self-absorbed or even snooty.
§ Put in extra hours and effort.
This is not the time to kick back and breathe a sigh of relief at landing a new job. Prepare to make a good impression—quickly. All eyes are on you, so volunteer to help others when you have a free moment and be willing to stay late to get something done.
§ Don’t talk too much about past success at a former job.
You will be forgiven for the first few weeks, when you say, “At ACME, we did it like this…” But it will soon get old. Eyes will roll if you frequently mention your late, great job. People will begin to think, “If she was so happy there, why didn’t she just stay there?”
§ Don’t try too hard to prove you are the right person for the job.
Teacher’s pets are annoying. Eager is good. Over eager is overkill.
§ Don’t discount the experience of people around you.
You may have been hired to save the world but you can’t do it without help. If you turn off your colleagues, who have years of experience, they will not only resent you, they may even withhold helpful information. Sins of omission can trip you up.
§ Don’t try to do too much at once.
It’s tempting to hit the ground running. Unfortunately, there is usually so much to do and such as steep learning curve to climb, you can end up running in circles, accomplishing nothing.
§ Don’t be unavailable or unresponsive.
As a new manager, you may be overwhelmed with meetings and projects that suck big holes in your schedule. Everyone wants a piece of your time, especially your employees. Don’t let them get the wrong impression about your leadership style. Make sure that you carve out enough time to get to know employees. Respond to emails and voice mails within a reasonable amount of time, even if you have to put in extra hours to do it. People are judging you by their first impressions and you can take steps to make sure their perceptions are positive.
Joan Lloyd is a Milwaukee based executive coach and organizational & leadership development strategist. She is known for her ability to help leaders and their teams achieve measurable, lasting improvements. Joan Lloyd & Associates, specializes in leadership development, organizational change and teambuilding, providing: executive coaching, CEO coaching & leader team coaching, 360-degree feedback processes, retreat facilitation and presentation skill coaching and small group labs.
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