Jump-start your new job

How quickly you get into your rhythm in a new job can determine whether your career takes the fast track or the slow lane. Your impulse may be to keep your head down and hope that your boss and teammates figure you out, but the clock is ticking. Better to come straight out and ask for what you need.

Get clarity

Some managers, even when well-intentioned, struggle to set clear expectations. So take the initiative and ask your boss:

  • What are my two or three main priorities?
  • What does elite performance look like in my role?
  • How will my performance be judged, and how often should we get together to review progress?

Share what makes you tick

Opening up to a new team or boss can change the dynamic at work. It’s a first step towards working together and can stop teammates jockeying for position.

  • Share what’s important to you at work and in life. Resist assuming a persona to fit in – it’s exhausting to maintain and hard to unravel.
  • Be open about what comes naturally to you in your role and what you find difficult. It’s a good idea to discuss early on how much autonomy you need and how to gain it.
  • Explain what excites you about your job and the hopes you have for your career.

Before you meet, write down your thoughts so that the discussion doesn’t drift. Deal with any differences while still in the room.

Speak up early on 

It’s not easy to speak up when you’re in a new environment, especially about what you need.

  • Make use of the honeymoon period when things are still fresh. You’ll be up and running sooner – and speaking up gets harder the longer you wait.
  • Be tactful but say your piece, focusing on the few vital things you need. Your boss and teammates will be grateful for the clarity and may well respond in kind.
  • Anchor the conversation in the team’s performance, e.g. “I’m a preparer and need time to think things through before meetings” or “I move fast when our direction is clear.”

The earlier you set out your stall when you first join a team, the better; but it’s never too late to let colleagues know what you need to be at your best.

Further reading


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Keep human connections strong.

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