Starting a new job can be a nerve racking experience, especially for an adult. You’re immediately transported back in time to your first day at school where you’re awash with insecurities: do my clothes send the right message? Will I fit in? What will “they” think of me?
It really is an exhausting mental loop!
Things are much more pronounced for a C-suite level executives. He/she not only has to worry about fitting into the company, they’re also responsible for its direction and success. Now that’s a saddling type of accountability.
Apprehension aside, being new at a job can be exciting. It offers the promise of possibilities and the creation of new chapters. In this same positive lane, managers can capitalise on their “newbie” status as a way to establish positive connections and build allies - here are some suggestions they should consider:
1. Take ownership of your introduction
As newcomers, there is a “safety” in letting other people announce your arrival: you’re still gauging everyone/everything out so you let the company-wide email or the team meeting be the only introductory conduits.
Anyone outside your immediate team gets the tightly-pursed-lip and weird nod.
A great way of standing out during this time, is taking the initiative and ownership of your introduction to other people. Turn that awkward situation around: smile, introduce yourself and ask what the other person does.
You’ll be surprised how positively people will respond this approach.
2. Remembering names goes a long wayAddressing people by their names is an instant way to be endearing to others, especially when you’re new. It communicates positive attributes like thoughtfulness and consideration - associations that you definitely want to convey.
While very few people have the impressive neural ability to connect numerous faces and names together, paying close attention during introductions is crucial.
Once the names have been mentioned, repeat it back to them (while also looking/thinking for something physical to associate to them with). What happens here is that by verbally enunciating their names back to them, you store that information into your short-term memory.
Write down their names if there’s a likelihood you’ll forget. After which, give yourself a quick pop quiz and see if you can make that name-face-association.
The true test, of course, is when you meet them face-t0-face (in a meeting or other causal settings. So, remember to prime your brain before such interactions.
3. Indulge your curiosity
Most newcomers are hesitant to ask questions for the fear of seeming dumb or coming across as a nuisance. This shouldn’t be the case!
For answers that are unattainable via Google or the “welcome” stack of folders, get over that hesitation and ask as many questions as you want. Besides, the first two weeks is when you’re given a free pass to indulge your curiosity about the good, bad and ugly - so take full advantage of it.
Besides, what you might think of as “dumb” or insignificant might be incredibly insightful - especially since you’re looking at the business through fresh pair of eyes. As such, don’t rob yourself (and the team) of a potentially key learning opportunity.
4. Connect with people influential to your roleAs you go about settling in, look out for opportunities to build relationships with the employees who play an important part to your role (inside and outside of your department) - it shows gumption and self-drive.
Walk up to them prior to meetings, pop by their desk or arrange a chat over coffee - the goal is to get to know them organically before you have to.
With these steps, you should have a solid plan of attack to confidently show up to your new place of work, and establish positive relationships that would move you forward.