Joining a new team or company, or taking on a new role is both an opportunity and a time of potential vulnerability.
Here are five tips to ensure that your “honeymoon period” is one that results in long-term success, when joining a new team.
1. Start as you intend to leave
You’re creating your reputation from scratch. Apart from doing a fantastic job, you also want to endear yourself to your new employer, so that when it does come time for you to leave, they’ll regret your departure, rather than look forward to the day.
That means that you need to fit right in from the beginning. Follow the obvious dress code. Be on time. Make sure that your breaks are no longer or more frequent than anyone else’s. Be conscientious and diligent. All this from the first day, and then every day.
Rather than talk about what you’re doing or intend to do, just do it. The proof of the pudding is in the eating, not in the discussing.
2. Develop good habits
This is your chance to develop good habits and lose the bad ones. Think about how you want to change yourself, and then start working on it.
Do you plan to break for lunch, lose weight, go to the gym? Then plan to do that with this job. It will help you to get into a more productive routine.
It will also be easy to let down your guard, especially if people are friendly. New jobs, especially when they’re across the country or on the other side of the world can be a bit like holiday romances. So take extra care that you think about who you are, and why you’re there.
Remember, too, that you and they are still getting to know one another, so don’t take anything for granted. Keep it professional.
3. Be willing to learn
Recognize that even in some of the simplest jobs, everyone is somewhat incompetent for the first few months. This includes you. And remember that even those you’ll supervise know more than you do. It doesn’t matter how high your IQ is or many university degrees or accolades you have.
Learn the routine, and especially be on the alert for you can contribute the most value. Whatever they tell you, you’re not just a warm body. Prove that you’re not just worth keeping, but that you’re indispensable. Ask intelligent questions. That shows that you’re listening and thinking. Those two attributes will set you apart from almost everyone else.
4. Don’t talk about how you did things in your last job
Even the same position in a different location within the same organization will be quite different.
When you continue to refer to the way you did things in your last position, it can sound as though you wished that you weren’t in your new job. If you keep it up, then you may not be for long.
5. Build relationships
Make sure that others will want to be on your network. One way is to schedule individual lunchtime meetings with each person in your department or the new team. And when you have such times together, make sure that it doesn’t feel like a sidewalk survey or an interrogation. You’re eating together because you want to get to know these people, not because you want to create a dossier on them.
These five things will give you the best possible start at your new job. No doubt you’ll think of others.