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Thursday, 05 December 2013

10 ways to Find Your feet in a new role

Written by Simon North

Finding your feet in a new role can fill you with trepidation and anxiety. Here are some tips that can help us overcome these things.

1.    Prepare Beforehand

There is lots you can do to prepare before taking on a new role, whether it is a brand new job in a brand new organisation or whether it is a change of role in your current company. Either way, find out as much as you can about the organisation, the area you’re working in, its past performance, where it seems to be going, why they’ve hired you and as much as you can about the new boss that you’ll be working for. This will give you confidence as you start out.

2.    Join in Everything

 In your early hours and days, there will be the chance for you to be involved in lots of brand new things. This could include being invited to meetings or having lunch with a new colleague. In these early moments, go for it. Don’t hold back, you can always decline later but by declining now you don’t know what you’re saying no to.

3.    Spend Time Introducing Yourself

When you are in a new role you have a license more than any other time to invest your time in getting to know who’s who and what they do. Take that time in the early weeks to do that. It will really pay off in the longer term.

4.    Get Into Mapping

 Where possible get hold of an organisation chart. If there isn’t one then build one for yourself. What will really help you find your feet is to draw a map of your field of interaction. Who is it in the first week that you are going to be in contact with regularly, either by phone or email? Go further and make sure that you record on your database who these people are, including their organisation, job title, email address, phone number etc.

5.    Find Out Who Matters

Who really matters? Of all those people that you will get to meet and know about, there are a limited number who really matter to you in this job. The more time that you can spend with those that really matter, the better it will be. You want to understand, what they do, why their contribution is important to them how important deadlines are for them and so on. This will again build your confidence and ensure that you are able to distinguish your priorities.

6.    Plan for Success

What does success look like in this new role? Was somebody doing the job before and what was their reputation? What did they do well, what did they do less well? The more you can understand what success looks like in this role, the more chance you have of achieving it.

7.    Seek Feedback

You need feedback and you need it as early as you can get it. Don’t be afraid to ask people when you do something for the first or the second time, “is this what you need? Have I covered what you wanted? Is this the best way to deliver this to you?” and so on. When you are finding your feet, people will seek to help you in a way that later on becomes harder to ask for and harder for them to give.

8.    Manage Your Time

When you understand the foregoing, you will be clever at choosing where to put your own time. You always have that choice and the smarter you can be, the better.

9.    Prepare for Meetings

When you are new in your role, there will be lots of standard things that go on in meetings that you will not know anything about. You need to watch and learn so that in future the angles are covered and you don’t look too much like a newbie.

10.    Report

Almost invariably in a new role, you need to be giving reports to people around you. It is obviously important to get it right and you need to understand what right is. Ask your peer group, colleagues or anyone else that can help you. Recognise that in these early days, everybody will help you.

Simon North is the Founder of Position Ignition and the Career Ignition Club. Position Ignition is one of the UK’s leading career development and career planning companies. The Career Ignition Club offers a range of career support tools, advice and e-learning materials for its members. Follow Simon North and his team on twitter @PosIgnition and get more advice from him on their Career Advice Blog.

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