How to start your new job without stuffing it up

Starting a new job is nerve racking. I also get those calls from my candidates when they are ready to start their first day on the new role. I love to give them that early morning text on their first day. You are starting the new role because your new manager believes you are the best person for the position and ready for the challenge ahead. There’s lots to think about when starting a new job, a new office, a new manager, a new team to work with and perhaps even a team to manage. Whoever said that first impressions count was absolutely right, you only have a short space of time to fit in, impress and to get people to like you, particularly the people who are going to have to work for you.

Here are some things you should avoid doing at all measure’s during your first few weeks into the job and reasons why:

Things to avoid:

Don’t be negative about your predecessor
It is tempting isn’t it? Particularly if you are going into an area that has been poorly managed, where performance is low and the only way is up. Don’t do it though. You can guarantee that even if you have gone into the worst are where morale is at an all time low, there will be at least somebody who valued, admired and retains extreme loyalty to the person who was there before you.
It’s also incredibly easy to criticize the person who was there before, comforting almost. You can easily disregard all of the problems as somebody else’s doing because they were either incompetent or neglectful, but be careful. Not only do you have old loyalties to contend with which has the potential to turn people against you, there is an expectation that you will now fix the problem and if the problem is bigger than you, you might look a bit stupid if you turn out to be no more effective than the last incumbent.

Don’t pretend you know everything

If you are going into a new area of expertise, be honest about it. Don’t try to impress everyone with your outstanding knowledge of the issues. This is a dangerous game to play. Before you know it, you will have promised the earth and delivered nothing. Until you understand the size of the challenge and the real opportunities, don’t say that you can change anything. This will protect you, your reputation and will make you appear humble. People will relate better to you if they think they are needed and that their views are valued.

Don’t hail yourself as the savior

This relates to the last two points. Nobody likes someone who claims to be the top dog. One of the things that instantly turns me off to new people at work is when they say ‘well I’m here now so things are bound to get much better.
At the end of the day most people are competent, they would have tried some of the things that you are hailing to be unique and transformational. You can get people to think you’re great but in far more subtle ways.

Don’t disregard previous team initiatives or ideas

When you’re managing a new team, they will want to impress you. Just in the same way that you want to impress your new company. Your team are most likely to know more than you do in your first few weeks so be gentle with them. You might think their ideas are non starters but give them a try, for two reasons.

Firstly, you need your team to work for you and you need to earn their respect. Be seen to value their input, you can always shape and guide their initiatives but never dismiss them out of hand. They will draw away from you, be de-motivated and sometimes obstructive to the end goal you are trying to achieve.

Secondly, you need to give people time to adjust to change before implementing new rules and ideas. They know more about the organization than you. Their thoughts will be value and if you listen to them, they can help you get to where you want to go much more quickly.

Don’t constantly compare where you are to places you used to work

It’s human nature to look at the past with rose tinted glasses. I’m sure the place you worked last had some great attributes but don’t bore everyone to death about them. Just because things are done differently in your new place of work it doesn’t necessarily mean they are worse or wrong.

Enjoy your new role and embrace the change and go with the flow.

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