10 Ways To Start Your New Job On The Right Foot  

I’ve seen so many brilliant people who should have absolutely coasted into a new job not make it through their probationary periods or have the probation extended resulting in stress, time wasted and dips in performance and morale. Usually not because they were technically incapable but because of the way they started, things like trying to run before they could walk, not making positive connections with people, or thinking they knew it all and lacking humility.  Here’s ten tips to make sure you’re not one of those people.

  • Work out who your key stakeholders are and what they want and expect from you. Communicate with them what your expectations of yourself and of them are so that everyone is crystal clear.
  • Decide how you want to be, more than what you want to do in the first few weeks. People will connect with this and when you have allies and friends you can do so much more than when you don’t.
  • Listen and ask more than you talk and tell. You won’t have this opportunity to be “new” again, capitalise on the fact no one expects you to have all the answers and don’t try to problem solve before you know what the problems even are.  
  • Don’t criticise what already exists and brag about how much better your last place was and how you’re going to save the day and sort it all out. That really alienates your new colleagues who’ve probably worked hard to get it to where it is today and they won’t be quick to offer goodwill when you inevitably need it – after all, you already know everything, don’t you, so why would they?
  • Keep a  diary. You’ll be taking in so much new information and making so many mental connections that it’ll be hard to retain it. Also after we’ve been somewhere a while we often become desensitized to things that could be opportunities or threats.  The  things that strike you when you’re new are often the nuggets that will keep you right later on and save you from “group think” that will happen when you’re established.
  • Remember: You need them more than they need you. Be humble and be nice to people. Especially if you’re in a senior role make real connections with the people who work for you even quicker than those you work for. They’re the people who know how it runs on the ground and will keep the ship afloat while you find your feet. If they all decide they don’t want to support you then you’re on your own, mate.
  • Set yourself reasonable targets, even if none have been given to you.  Reasonable means don’t overshoot though, which people often tend to do. for this. Make a plan for your first 90 days and if you can have someone, a coach or mentor, to keep you accountable, on track and supported.  Being new it’ll take you longer to get things done than it will when you know your way around so give yourself allowances
  • Prioritise what you want to do. I love the saying - you can do anything, but you can’t do everything.  In the early days it can be tempting to run around trying to get involved in everything, it will come back to bite you.
  • Take care of yourself. Make sure to still make time for friends and family. Don’t get yourself into a pattern of working 14 hour days from the start. Firstly because it’ll then become expected of you. Secondly because you will be far less effective than if you take appropriate rest breaks anyway so it’s totally counterproductive. 
  • Ask for feedback. Probably the most important of all. Request regular check in meetings with your line manager (every two weeks minimum)  so that you can get a sense of how they think you’re doing. Ask for feedback too from the people around you and those who you manage.  Information is everything and will keep you right.