Fitting in at a New Job
Posted By: Gary Woollacott, 6/11/2012
Did you change your job recently and now you are settling into a new company? Have you taken the time to ensure that the transition is smooth so that you are successful? In this post I’m going to discuss how important it is to prepare for a new environment – and you won’t be surprised to read that it isn't only about the great performance you are going to put in.
One of the most striking mistakes that people can make when they go to a new job is to turn up filled with self-importance and perhaps even arrogance. As the new ‘star’ recruit, it may be tempting to feel that way but your new colleagues won’t appreciate your attitude. Instead, think about fitting in with the existing culture a little more; there will be friendships and alliances that you aren’t aware of, so take the time to observe – but don’t be a snob. Then you can make your move, knowing that you have analyzed the situation and can make your best impression, professionally and personally.
Every manager is different and has a different style. When working with someone new, don’t be afraid to ask: how would you like me to report to you? I've done this each time with a new job and the differences are astonishing. Some managers want to be involved every step of the way, others are content to let you get on with it and report every two weeks or so, highlighting issues of concern – although always available for urgent matters. You can see that these are extremes and I'm sure you can appreciate the frustration if you are thinking one thing, and your manager is thinking another and you haven't taken the time to discuss this fundamental issue.
Are there strict standards that everyone is expected to adhere to? They may not have been discussed during the recruitment process, but you’d better find out. Some companies give a lot of latitude to staff, some control them more rigorously – find out about yours and act accordingly. But remember that professional freedom is empowering and gratifying but it carries accountability and responsibility too.
Gary Woollacott is Managing Partner of Horton International Thailand and Vietnam.