Personally, I never feel more pressure than in the first three months of a new role. Admittedly, a lot of that pressure is self inflicted because I’m very conscious of establishing myself within a new team, making a good impression and achieving some results quickly. My aim is to have Management consciously recognising that I have made things better and therefore being reassured that my appointment was a wise decision. Here are some pointers to keep in mind when starting a new role.
Build rapport and build it quick. Chances are that you are joining a team where relationships and a team culture or ‘way of doing things’ has already been established. Some thoughtful people will make an attempt to get to know you, however people are busy and being the new person, you should make the effort to connect with others. Some benefits of quickly settling into the team culture are:
- you feel comfortable at work and can have a laugh with your colleagues;
- people trust you and will therefore share knowledge with you;
- people are more likely to help you;
- you will be seen as a good cultural fit for the team;
- when you have a difference in opinion with people, it is handled respectfully because you have developed an understanding of one another.
I’m an introvert so I prefer to get to know people individually or in small groups. I built rapport by taking the time to introduce myself to everyone and then arranging coffee catch ups with team members. Some people were much more reserved than others, in fact I felt that there were a few people that were quite cold towards me. However, I didn’t let that dissuade me and continued to be friendly. After a few months, something just clicked, and I realised that I now felt at ease with most people in the team. It hasn’t all completely fallen into place yet, there is still one very quiet person I need to make more of an effort to get to know, however building rapport with most of the team quickly has made me feel much more a ease. Who wants to turn up to work everyday not feeling comfortable with the people around them?
Join the footy tipping competition, even if you don’t follow football. Join the Global Corporate Challenge, even if you are the most potato-like couch potato ever known to man. Now is the time to put your hand up and show your team spirit. Importantly, this also applies to your work. Find out what management’s pain points are and fix them, don’t wait for them to ask you. During my first month, I was invited to attend a project working group that had been assembled and sponsored by the Chief Risk Officer. It became evident to me that the working group members were too senior, and therefore time poor. The working group had not progressed. Being new and therefore free of any business-as-usual functions, I took charge of the project and began to deliver the required outputs. The outputs were well received by senior management and gave me the ‘win’ I needed to establish my credibility in my new role.
I also mentioned the following example in my previous post; The CRO was offering a shadowing program, giving applicants an opportunity to shadow him or a member of the senior leadership team. Being new to the area, I submitted my application and was successful in shadowing the CRO. As timing would have it, his Executive Manager was going on leave for a few months, so he needed somebody to temporarily fill the role. He offered the position to me as my shadowing application was front of mind. This will be a great development opportunity, and raises my profile in this new department.
It’s normal to question yourself
Doubt, worry, a feeling of being overwhelmed. I remember these things all too well from my previous role. I find that it starts around the 2-3 month mark, when the excitement and ‘newness’ of it all has faded away. I start thinking about how immense and seemingly impossible my designated tasks are (often project work) and wondering if I’m cut out for it after all. The last time this happened, I found myself worrying that I would be found out as a ‘fraud’ or that a year would pass, and I wouldn’t have any results to show. I found myself paralysed by this, and would leave work and go for a long walk or hide in a coffee shop somewhere when I really should have been working. There were a few times when I even caught the train home during my lunch break, just to sit in the familiarity of my apartment for 10 minutes before catching the train back. I find that in these situations, it’s important to correct my negative self talk. It helps to remind myself that I have felt this way previously and overcome it. I also remind myself that I left my previous role in search of new challenge, and these feelings of discomfort are often a by product of challenge. It also helps to confide in somebody you trust, who is close to what you do. I’m lucky to be able to share these feelings with my current Manager, who has been extremely supportive and understanding.
Seeking feedback allows you to address any areas of improvement that your manager or team has already noticed, within your probation period. It also shows that you are proactive, self-aware and conscious of how you impact others. Further, when people make the time and effort to give you feedback, they have invested in your development. If you choose to take on what they have said, this will contribute to building rapport with them.
Update your LinkedIn Profile
My current role profile has been sitting blank on LinkedIn ever since I started, largely because I’m still finding my feet and my functions within the team have not yet been firmly established. The team itself has been going through rapid change and has been focused on making it to the financial year end. But it’s time now to get off my butt and update my LinkedIn profile. Just because I’m not currently looking for a job doesn’t mean that I shouldn’t have an up to date profile. LinkedIn may also be used by people who just generally want to know who you are, for example, perhaps they will be meeting with you in the near future. Further, there’s no harm in keeping yourself open to new opportunities, whether you would take them or not.
Reflection and rewards
Make some time for personal reflection. How do you feel about the role? What have you noticed about the team? What will help you, and what will hinder you? Will you be happy here? Your appraisal is just as important as your employers. And with reflection, comes reward. Whether it’s booking dinner at your favourite restaurant, or a little weekend trip away, I strongly believe that rewards are important to celebrate and reflect on milestones such as these.
That Career Girl