Have you started a new job? Changed positions in your company? Climbed higher on the corporate ladder toward your bigger goals?
A new role is exciting. And it can be overwhelming at first. You’re trying to learn about the organization, meet people and understand how others fit into the entire picture. Even if you’ve been with the company for some time, a change in title, and even location, will demand a time for learning.
And if you’ve stepped up and into a more demanding role, particularly with others reporting to you, this can be a challenge in ways you don’t initially realize.
What are some things to be aware of? And how can you make a smooth transition?
Stepping into a new job or role will bring about inevitable change. While you’re learning the ropes, others are getting to know you. They may have had to alter their tasks and functions, depending on the circumstances of your hire. They are leery of what might happen to them, their job or the company.
You might have stepped into someone else’s previous position. Regardless of how he departed ways, you’re not “him.” Acceptance from others will be slow. You might even be perceived as a threat.
If you make immediate, drastic changes, anxiety levels will be high. People will be skeptical about your methods. They’re used to doing tasks a certain way and might not be open to the changes.
What to do: Wait, if at all possible. Even if you’ve been hired with the understanding that changes need to be made, learn about the workplace first. Get to know the people. Spend time observing the way tasks are handled. Understand the challenges people are facing. As your co-workers and others identify with you, you’ll build a rapport with them that you’ll need in the future. You’ll be amazed at what you can learn in a year.
You’ve likely had the help of others in your previous employment or in your earlier role. But when that role changes, especially if you step into a managerial position or become a team leader, your support will also change. You’re viewed differently and the confidence level of your peers and team need to be gained. You may not have lost the trust you once had, but you’ll have to reestablish it in a different setting.
In order to be accepted and help others consent to changes, you’ll need allies. You’ll need the backing of your co-workers, team and upper management.
What to do: As mentioned above, getting to know your co-workers will help you build rapport. Ask them questions. Learn about what they do and what they enjoy about it. What are their specific challenges? Are there ways you can assist them?
People need to know that others are listening to them. And not just listening, but are active in their concerns. They show this by assisting them with their tasks, trying new ways to lighten their challenges, and even speaking to upper management about making positive changes.
If you become an ally for your team, chances are they will support the future decisions you make.
The dynamics in large and small organizations is vast. There can be a few generation gaps, experience is all over the place, and people have specific talents that strengthen the institution when they work as a collective. Considerable challenges occur when someone younger is hired as a superior to someone older. If that someone younger is fresh out of college, with no real-world work understanding, clashes will happen.
When you work with someone who lacks training or talent in a specific arena, no matter what his age, this can cause friction. People with the experience and immeasurable knowledge of the company will have a difficult time listening to someone who sounds as though he just arrived on the planet.
If you’re the new hire, how does your background measure up to others? And if you have experience with the role you stepped into, how can you be seen as a team player as opposed to the cruel task changer?
If you have a lot of experience already, this can be a hindrance if you’re not careful. You can be perceived as haughty, with the “my way or no way” stance. If you dive into making changes without asking questions, you’ll lose the support and trust you need to succeed. The foundation of the company and team you’re trying to strengthen will be unstable.
What to do: Start listening.
Talk with others who have been with the company for some time. Find out why they’ve stayed. Ask about the changes they’ve seen over the years. What has worked? What hasn’t?
Gravitate toward ones who are older. Even if they haven’t been with the company that long, they will have a level of maturity you will realize is beneficial to your future decisions. People who are in their 50s and 60s think differently than when they were in their 20s and 30s. Life experience shapes thinking and attitudes. The wisdom you gain from older ones is invaluable. Don’t wait until you reach their age to find out what they already know.
A person who makes intelligent decisions is a person who listens to others. While your own experience is helpful, it’s useful to heed what others tell you they’ve learned.
And if you make a mistake, ask these experienced ones where you missed the mark. What could you have done differently?
Make your role change smooth by giving yourself time to adjust. Get to know others who are working with you, either directly or indirectly. Talk with them and listen to their concerns. Observe how things are done. Listen to the wisdom of older, more experienced co-workers.
In time, the decisions you make toward change will be more advantageous to the company and to the people because you understand them better. And they will be supportive of your efforts. The team will be stronger and you’ll be happier because you’ll all be striving for the same goals.