You Just Landed a Job! Now What?
You just found out you landed the job you wanted with a new organization and find yourself thinking about what you need to do to prepare.
You just found out you landed the job you wanted with a new organization and find yourself thinking about what you need to do to prepare for the transition. Here are three things you can do to prepare for your next role.
Take stock of yourself
It is important that you spend time reflecting on who you are as a leader. Revisiting previous leadership profiles such as the Strengths Finder, DiSC assessment or others you may have taken can be helpful reminders about who you are as a leader and what you need to be at your best. This is particularly important if you are going to be leading a group of people.
I advise my clients to spend time evaluating their leadership in relation to the work of diversity, equity, and inclusion. This can be done by working with someone to take the Intercultural Development Inventory and then reflecting on how the results may impact their leadership style and developing a strategy to become a more effective leader on cultural difference. It would be also helpful to take the Implicit Bias Association Test and then get coaching to help determine how your bias manifests itself in the way you lead. It is also a good idea to assess the role your social and personal identities may play in the way you lead those that have different identities from yours. During these times if we have not already spent some time reflecting and developing a skill set to lead a diverse workforce, it should be done with urgency.
I believe a way that will also help you prepare for a transition is to identify the leaders you have admired most for their leadership/management qualities. This can be done be answering the following questions:
• What about them motivated and inspired you?
• What was it about them that helped you build trust in them?
• What similarities did these have in common?
This is a good exercise because there are people that we try to emulate in our leadership and management approach. This exercise will remind you what those qualities are and to think about how you might integrate them in your transition and as you begin to lead a new team.
If you have not already spent time asking yourself what motivates you, now is the time to do so. Motivation is important because that is what usually drives us to succeed. If you cannot articulate what is motivating you to pursue the position you are stepping into, this could lead to unhappiness and eventual failure in your new role. In addition to what motivates you, you should spend time reflecting on the values that guide your behavior. These will be important for you to refer to in your transition to remind you what you want to stay true to. This is powerful, especially in the first 90 days of your transition.
The last thing I will mention in this area is the need for you to write out your preferred method of giving and receiving feedback. As William Gentry states in his book Be the Boss Everyone Wants to Work For: A Guide for New Leaders, “Treat others the way they want to be treated.” I mention this because it will be important for you to ask people you lead what their preferred method of receiving feedback is. By you spending time first answering this question you can identify if your method matches with what the people you lead say. If there is a disconnect this will provide you with an opportunity to have a leadership/coaching conversation with them. This can go a long way in setting you up for success. On the flipside by spending time writing down and reflecting on your preferred method of receiving feedback, you will have talking points to share with your team for what can be another important conversation.
Making and communicating decisions
Think about and write down the way you make decisions as you prepare for your transition. It will be key in the first two weeks of your transition to communicate to your team how you make decisions in various scenarios. For example, if you have to make a decision that is time sensitive, letting your team know that you will not be able to consult with them to get their input will communicate to them that it is not that you don’t want to hear from them, but that you may not have the luxury of time. Another example is a decision that you want input on, but everyone may not agree on a solution, so you may have to make a decision that not everyone will be happy with. Communicating to your team how they will be involved in decision making will go a long way in building trust that will help you lead effectively. In my experience and through the conversations I’ve had with my clients, it is clear that skipping this step can lead to your team not trusting you, which could derail your leadership, ending your tenure in your new organization prematurely.
Confrontation is coming
Inevitably there will be times that you will have to confront the people you lead or people you work with and for. Spending time reflecting on and developing a strategy to have these conversations will help you lead effectively. The Foundation Coalition has identified five modes people use to address conflict: competing, compromising, avoiding, collaborating, and accommodation. If you have not taken the time to think about how you approach conflict and what your preferred method is, reflect on how in the past you’ve approached conflicts or confrontations. Think about a model that you can use to engage in difficult dialogues that may occur in your new role. Two important resources are Crucial Conversations (Paterson, Grenny, McMillan, and Switzler) and Clear Leadership (Gervase R. Bushe). These provide models that you can use to guide you when you need to have conversations around difficult topics or when you have to give a constructive performance review.
You must be intentional about planning for a transition to set yourself up for success. Things will happen in your transition that you will not be able to plan for. The key is to prepare and work with someone during your transition to ensure that you have the tools necessary to be successful.
I would be happy to walk with you during your transition by listening, providing clarity, and providing support: Apoyo.