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How To Succeed In Your New Position

Gayle Petrillo July 2022

Career Kuel Thought Leader: Gayle Petrillo

Congratulations! You’ve landed a fabulous role.

Whether it’s your first, mid-career or at long last your ideal stay here til I retire job, here are some key suggestions for helping you be successful.

First and foremost, remember that you have two ears and only one mouth for a reason. Be a sponge in your first few weeks. You not only don’t have to be the smartest person in the room, you actually may not be! And, even if you are, it’s best not to show your ego when you first step into your new role. 

“It’s best to avoid early mistakes and the best way to do that is to listen to gauge your new environment.”

It’s A Trap!

Everyone around you, including those who report to you as well as those you report to [everyone has a boss], are watching and listening, some waiting for you to make a mistake.

Do not fall into that trap. Sure, we all make mistakes, it’s how we respond to correcting them that builds trust and respect. Making that first mistake can set the tone for how you will or will not succeed in the future. It’s best to avoid early mistakes and the best way to do that is to listen to gauge your new environment. 

First impressions are huge. Since you are either new to an organization or a role within your current company, being new puts you right in the bullseye. 

Unless you have to make an urgent decision in your first few days and/or weeks, it’s best to determine what’s working and what’s not. How do you do that? By listening. Ask your colleagues at every level of the organization what their perceptions are. Their perceptions are their reality and can help make or break you as you develop allies in the coming weeks and months.

Change Is Scary For Everyone:

By asking open-ended questions, you are not providing your bias. When you see a task in process, ask why it’s being done that way. How and when are great opening questions as well.

“Active listening skills go a long way to making a great first impression and building that trust.”

Be sure the person you are asking understands that you are asking to learn the ins and outs. It’s important for your colleagues to know that you are not criticizing the what and how they are performing. They will be concerned that as a newcomer, you will begin changing the what, how, and when. Change is scary for everyone. If the ‘what’ is working, why change it? If you come in, and over time see there are efficiencies that can be accomplished, get the doer’s buy-in early on.

And if you have succeeded in gaining their trust, getting their buy-in should be easier. Once a change is identified as a need by consensus, getting the buy-in happens organically. And sometimes will be seen first, by the doer, helping you without your need to point it out. 

Communication is an essential tool to building that trust. Active listening skills go a long way to making a great first impression and building that trust.

Open-Ended Questions:

In my experience, few, if any employees, come into work to perform badly. If you spot an underachiever, ask your open-ended questions to get an understanding of whether that person is able to be successful in their role. Is more training required? Are there personal issues holding them back? 

And avoid the gossip mongers. If colleagues try to pull you into conversations about the organization’s politics, especially the ones that existed prior to your arrival. A good response would be, “I don’t know anything about that.” 

Another thing to avoid is demeaning someone, especially in public. Criticism is best given behind closed doors. Congratulations are best given in public. Having said this, however, keep in mind your team members’ personalities. Some are embarrassed by public praise.

The bottom line for those newly hired, be a sponge. Listen and ask questions – lots of questions. You’ll quickly gain the trust and respect of those around you, making your job easier.

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About the Author:

Gayle Petrillo is President of First Impressions, Image Consulting. Gayle is an image consultant working with both businesses and individuals. Her services include: customer service training; team building skills; secret shopper services; gossip avoidance techniques; closet analysis; wardrobe transformations, personal shopping; employment coaching; and presentation skills.