This week, I begin my new role at the Indiana University Alumni Association as Director of Professional Enrichment. I will spearhead an expanded alumni career enhancement and leadership development program, which recently captured the attention of executive coaching guru, Marshall Goldsmith and Spencer Stuart CEO, Jim Citrin. It’s a bold paradigm shift and a wonderful chance for me to serve Indiana University alumni at-large.
For the first time in 6 years, I’ll be the new girl in the office and I approach this new opportunity with passion, energy, and some real butterflies in my stomach. So, I want to share some tips that I will be practicing as the newbie in a well-established organization as I learn the ropes and find my way around.
Be an Active Listener
It is important, especially for brand new employees, to listen a lot. Try not to come across as being overly aggressive because your co-workers will be turned off, especially before they have even gotten to know you. If you are asked for your opinion, offer it. Otherwise try to lay low until you get to know your fellow employees and they get to know you. You need to earn the trust and respect of your new team and this takes time.
Get To Know People By Name
Making a good impression and remembering names will go a long way to getting your working relationships off to a good start. Take some notes to help you remember who is who and don’t be afraid to say – “Please help me remember your name…” so you can engage people personally and make an effort to get to know them.
Learn the Landscape
The org chart from Human Resources is a good point of departure to understand who reports to whom. This will help you to avoid stepping on anyone’s toes by inadvertently going over someone’s head. Knowing where to go to get help is also essential – so don’t be afraid to ask questions.
Being a good colleague and a palatable person on the new team is important, especially when you are just starting out in a new job. Be sure to smile, greet people, and make eye contact when passing a co-worker in the hallways. Authenticity is key so honor your personality and put your best professional foot forward.
Teach People How to Treat You
The beginning of a new job is a great opportunity for you to help others understand your work and communication style. This is a time to exhibit your work ethic and your boundaries, so be cognizant of the professional persona and expectations you are putting out there for others to absorb. You may only get one chance at a first impression but you also want to create realistic and sustainable work practices that honor you and your new organization.
I may need to use a GPS to find my way around my new building but I’m ready for this new chapter in my career life and I’ll report back about my progress soon. Wish me luck!