How you start a new job is crucial to set yourself up for success, positive recognition, and even early rewards. While it’s tempting to allow your new boss and your new HR to set the tone and the tasks for starting in a new role, there are a few problems with making this choice.

  • Stepping into your new role as a follower, you immediately undercut all the work you did to land your role and prove you’re the right leader for what they need.
  • Starting out passively, you put your career in someone else’s hands.
  • Waiting for instructions means you start slow.

The initial weeks in a new position determine how you’ll be perceived as a leader. Instead, consider taking a more active approach to defining your role and maintaining control of your career by taking the following steps.

First, meet with your new boss to identify goals with measurable outcomes.

Meeting with your new boss to establish concrete, measurable goals for your first 30, 60, and 90 days is the first and most important step in setting yourself up for success. During this meeting, take notes on what’s expected of you and ask questions to clarify any areas that don’t seem clear. Discuss timelines, and set deadlines that are realistic and achievable.

Having a tangible plan that you both agree on gives you an outline of what needs to be done and when it should be accomplished. This not only helps you stay focused but also helps you start measuring your performance from day one.

Setting clear objectives will help shape how you approach each task, form relationships with colleagues, and work on individual projects. Additionally, having well-defined goals will demonstrate commitment on your part as well as provide direction for your boss when evaluating your performance from day one.

Start building your internal network by scheduling “Meet & Greet” 1-on-1 meetings with your new staff, your new peers, and other leaders at and above your level.

Building your internal network is essential to creating a strong team foundation and encourages collaboration. These meetings are much easier to establish at the start of a job when you’re new to them, and they’re new to you.

Meetings with your new staff are a great way to introduce yourself, learn how they work, what their experience level is, and how you can best help them. Meeting face-to-face (virtually or IRL) builds trust, promotes collaboration, and allows you to plan and delegate team tasks in an efficient and effective manner.

Talk to team members across different departments to better understand their processes and how everything works together. Make sure that you understand who does what and how different departments fit into the puzzle. Build relationships early with key stakeholders who can be helpful when an issue inevitably arises down the road.

Create connections with colleagues and leaders at and above your level to build mutually beneficial relationships. These meetings provide an opportunity to get an insider’s perspective on the organizational dynamics at a higher level. Regularly engaging with those who are in positions of authority or seniority enables you to showcase your value and advance your career.

In all of these interactions, look for ways to add value by highlighting any area for improvement that you notice in your first few weeks on the job. Capitalize on the fresh perspective you bring. This demonstrates your willingness and capability to be an active contributor to both successes and improvements within the organization.

Establish an approach to regular communication with your boss, their boss, and your team.

Communication is essential to building successful working relationships and meeting the goals and objectives you’ve defined.

Take the initiative to establish regular and effective communication with your boss (and their boss) according to their communication style and preferences. Determine their preferred mode of contact and expectations in terms of response times. Understand what they need from you as well as what you need from them to be successful in your role.

Do the same for how you communicate with your team and how they communicate with each other. Make clear your expectations around project updates, deadlines, and how to handle any problems that arise. Give guidelines for both verbal and written communication to help them stay organized, efficient, and productive.

Take These Actions to Set Yourself Up For Success

The first 30 days of a new job are crucial to set yourself up for success. By taking the initiative to meet with your boss, build relationships with your colleagues, and establish regular communication with your boss, their boss, and your team, you’ll be off to a rock-star start as a leader in your new role.

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