Along with figuring out where to have lunch and the best place to grab your morning coffee, a new job also comes with a few more difficult challenges to deal with. From how to win your boss over to establishing a good rapport with your team, these are the things that will determine how you fare further down the road. To get yourself off to the best start possible, arm yourself with the following expert tips and you’ll be well on your way to becoming employee of the year.
Prep before you even start
Before you even set foot in your new office, you can already start laying the groundwork for success.
“Make sure that you have done your homework on the organisation; from the products and services, through to their mission and strategic goals,” says career coach and consultant Nicole Grainger-Marsh. “I also recommend meeting with your boss for a coffee at some point before you start. This shows that you are keen, while also giving you an opportunity to start building rapport with your manager.”
Learn about your future co-workers
Whilst learning about the business is crucial, career management coach and author of number one Amazon bestseller Navigating Career Crossroads, Jane Jackson, says there’s one additional step not to be missed.
“Be sure to take the time to research the people with whom you will be working, [such as] your manager, colleagues, and other stakeholders. This can easily be done via LinkedIn to have a basic understanding of where they have come from and their career journeys.”
Identify everyone’s expectations
Make it a priority to get to know those you will be working with, including what they need from you and how they would like to work together, says Nicole.
When it comes to your boss, Nicole says you need to get the lay of the land upfront. “Ask what they expect from you, how they like to work and their preference for engaging with you. Being clear on their expectations from the get-go will mean there’s no confusion and you can set yourself up to build a strong relationship.”
If your role involves managing direct reports, both Jane and Nicole agree it’s important to have one-on-one conversations with each team member.
“Get their view on how things have been working, whether they have any ideas for driving improvements, as well as what they want out of their role and from you as a leader. Ultimately, it’s about ensuring they feel heard and recognise that you are there to work with them,” says Nicole.
Start with a plan
You could totally wing it in your new role or you could take Nicole’s advice and start with a “good ol’ fashioned 90-day plan.” (Hint: go with the plan.)
“Month one is about understanding; identifying what and who you need to know, and defining how you will fill those gaps. Month two is about assessment, either of the team, programs or processes,” says Nicole. “And month three is about goal setting; knowing what you now know, what are the goals that need to be achieved for the business and for you in your role?”
Take it slow
You don’t have to be a trailblazer from the onset. This is one case in which playing the long-game is important. You’ll find that you’ll be in a more commanding position to achieve your goals after thoroughly familiarising yourself with the business.
“Ask questions and observe how people behave, how they communicate, and take note of any hierarchy. It’s important to find out how things are done as there will be ‘unwritten’ rules,” says Jane. “Something not to do too early on is try to implement any changes until you fully understand the system. Implementing changes too early can ruffle feathers.”
It’s also crucial to listen and to take a collaborative approach, says Nicole. “Don’t go in like a bull in a china shop with your own agenda – this can cause people to feel threatened and you can quickly get them offside. Your long-term success is dependent upon understanding the business, building relationships and alliances, and moving forward with purpose.”