“Concentrate and focus all your attention on getting the basics done promptly. The important thing is to come to grips with your new job quickly and be effective in your output.”
G. Morgan & A. Banks, Going Up: How to get, keep and advance your career, Collins Australia, Melbourne, 1988, p. 182.
Our last blog post explored a lot of simple ways to get yourself familiarised with your new job, role and organisation. We hope you found it informative and helpful. Below are some more ideas, stories and quotes that we think might help you settle in! Remember…the purpose behind every moment where you feel overwhelmed is career development. Who knows what door will open or who you will meet on the job!
Make these adjustments…
When moving from the workface to a management position, you’ll need to make these important adjustments:
- Expand and raise your own sights and become aware of new responsibilities which entail seeing things from a new perspective.
- Leave the world of specifics and details and be ready to deal with the unknown.
- Shift interest from ‘things’ to ‘people’ and make decisions affecting them.
- Realise that you are dependent more than ever before on the work of others.
- Accept responsibility for those whose work you cannot know and often cannot do or even control yourself.
Smile & ponder
Fred Slipper had just been promoted into a management position with the company.
He felt very insecure being ushered into his new office. Nevertheless, he looked with pride at his new surroundings as he settled into his high-backed leather chair.
There was a knock at the door.
Fred, wanting to look busy, confident, and important, picked up the receiver of his phone. He then asked the visitor to come in.
When the young man entered, the new manager nodded toward him and said, ‘I’ll only be a minute. I’ll just finish off this call.’
He continued into the phone, ‘No problem, we can certainly handle that account. Yes, I realise it’s the largest this company has ever had. You can count on me. You’re welcome. Good-bye.’
Fred put the receiver down and turned to his visitor. Smiling, he asked, ‘Now, what can I do for you?’
The young man smiled and replied, ‘Well, I’ve come to connect your telephone.’
- The point of the story is that, when you take up your new job, try not to look too impressive. Vanity can lead to some embarrassing predicaments.
Questions to ask your staff
Upon taking up your new position, the best way to assess your people is to do so as a by-product of finding out what they do and gathering information about your new domain. To this end, Richard Koch, author of ‘The Successful Boss’s First 100 Days’, suggests that, among the battery of questions you should direct at staff members might be the following:
- What do you do and why?
- Who and what do you depend on to do a good job?
- What would enable you to do a better job?
- Are there things you do that could be done more quickly, or not at all, with little or no loss of value?
- What would you like to spend more time doing, and how would this help the team and our customers?
- Are you fully stretched?
- Could some of the things you do be delegated to a lower cost resource without serious loss of quality?
- How can you best help me to help the team? What can you do to help the transition to a new boss (me!)?
- If you were in my position, what other steps would you take to improve the team’s overall performance and morale?
- How can we make this team one of the best in the company/industry?
- Is there anything else you and I should discuss right now?
The art of accepting praise
Hopefully, as you become secure in your new position, your efforts will attract the praise of colleagues and staff. But are you one of those who get flustered and embarrassed when someone pays you a compliment?
There is an art to accepting compliments graciously and with dignity, an art which many people have never mastered.
One of the simplest and most appropriate responses, writes Vivian Buchan in ‘The Toastmaster’, is to smile and say, ‘Thank you. It means a lot to me to hear you say that.’ There’s a subtle compliment embodied in that sentence, too, for the emphasis on you implies that the person’s comments mean more because of who is making them.
As well, Buchan offers this advice:
- Don’t belittle praise. If someone says, ‘You handled that situation very well’, don’t reply, ‘Oh, it was nothing. Anyone could have done that.’ Remarks like this belittle the praise as well as the person, because it makes the person commenting on your performance feel like s/he’s from nowhere as far as judgement is concerned.
- Don’t try to repay the compliment. If you begin swapping compliments like children, then it simply becomes a childish exercise in hypocrisy.
- Don’t let compliments go to your head. Consider a compliment as a motivational spur to encourage you to do or be better. Think more about how you can improve and start to work on ways to do that. Remember what Adlai Stevenson said about compliments: ‘Flattery is fine if you can handle it. It’s like smoking cigarettes. OK, as long as you don’t inhale.’