Shine in Your New Role

Tags: Leadership, Performance, Career

When beginning “onboarding” coaching with a client he or she is always interested in my top tips for successful ignition in a new role. Onboarding is an important opportunity for newly-placed leaders. Many don’t realize that there is a high risk of failure in new positions.  The new leader has to acclimate to and get accepted by a new culture, a new boss, and a new team.  I have seen multiple leaders who get terminated or resign after about 18 months.  Onboarding leadership coaching seems to help the leader be successfully accepted and achieve the key performance indicators of the new position.

The top six tips I give are the following:

  1. Ask open-ended questions about other team members and leaders (i.e., What do you do?). Don’t wait for people to approach you.  Be out there. Greet people and speak first if necessary.
  2. Be empathic and humble. Make gentle eye contact, say less, and listen.
  3. Research and learn as much as you can about the company and division in which you will work before you start.
  4. Learn people’s names before you start from team name lists, hierarchy diagrams, and organizational charts.
  5. Always carry a Moleskine or notebook in your pocket during the first month. Record the names of each person you meet with some details. Draw diagrams of where people sit and their names.   Nothing is more important than remembering someone’s name and some important items you discussed.  This makes people feel valued, which is the core of team engagement.
  6. Form a positive relationship with your boss from the first discussion. You should be finding out what he or she wants from you and identify the key goals and metrics for success that he or she lists for you.

Keith Rollag mentions some more tips:

  1. Research shows people are anxious about approaching unfamiliar people and do whatever possible to avoid conversation. You need to break through anxiety and make contact.
  2. Ingram and Morris report that their research demonstrates that executives will do a lot to avoid introducing themselves. So introduce yourself! Push through isolating feelings and thoughts so you actively connect and form vital relationships that enable your success.

Lastly, I will add that newly hired leaders should be aware of the “high school” culture in their new workplace that really never goes away.  Like the lunchtime cafeteria of high school, pay attention to how to get accepted by the key players of the team.  You may be surprised to find out who they are and what it will take for them to respect you. The solution may be that you have to set some limits to get their respect. It may be that you have to transfer or terminate someone. Figure out the puzzle to you taking charge of your area. Prioritize humility, listening, and remembering details as the keys to your success.

Good luck in your new opportunity!




FOLLOW-UP on my Feb 18, 2016 Blog: A Clear Voice Over Time Increases Visibility and Productivity at the 2016 Grammy’s

I want to follow-up on the Oscars broadcast on Sunday, February 21, 2016.  Chris Rock was funny and tough on the largely white audience, as predicted.  Diversity played a key role throughout the program.  For Short Documentary, A Girl in the River: The Price of Forgiveness won an Oscar and the producer Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy reported that the film is actually spurring changes in the law to help prevent honor killings in Pakistan. Vice President Biden introduced Lady Gaga who sang a song about sexual abuse that connected to the film, Spotlight, the story of boys sexually abused under the watch of the Catholic Church in Boston.  Spotlight went on to win Best Picture which establishes an even further intensification of corrective goals for the Vatican.

The talented Sam Smith, winner of multiple previous music awards, accepted best original song for Writing’s on the Wall, from Spectre, the latest James Bond movie. During his joyful acceptance speech he dedicated the award to the LGBT community.

The President of the Academy, Cheryl Boone Isaacs, spoke as a black woman who pledged to implement many changes in voting and in making sure the diverse world is represented in the Academy. The movie Revenant won best director and best actor (Alejandro G. Iñárritu and Leonardo DiCaprio).

As we ask of executives in coaching, the academy cleanly owned both their goals regarding altering their membership and voting policies.  Interestingly, there was a significant number of minority presenters and entertainers present to balance out the embarrassment of having no minority nominees.  Chris Rock held everyone accountable yet maintained his sense of humor throughout the broadcast. Leonardo DiCaprio accepted the Best Actor award with one of the most tweeted speeches in Oscar history focusing on dealing with climate change and respect for other people.

At the conclusion of the broadcast, I believed that the Academy had saved their “brand” as long as they demonstrate metric changes in diversity and equity in the future.





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