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Ask a coach: How to impress in a new job—from managers to clients

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If you’re reading this, congratulations on landing a new job! It’s never easy getting a new job, but the challenge doesn’t end when you step foot into your new company. in fact, for new hires who’re looking to impress in a new job, the probation period can be as stressful as the job-hunting process itself. 

Whether you’re working from the office or at home, here are some tips from Intellect’s executive coach Robyn Cam on standing out to your managers, coworkers, and even clients.

Impressing your manager

Your first conversation with your leader doesn’t have to be on the first day. “Try to make contact with them before your first day, schedule a phone call to connect, or attend the office for a brief introduction meeting,” says Robyn.

Whether you choose to make a call or visit the office, take the chance to ask your leader how you can reach out to the key people you will be working with. 

If you decide to drop by the office, don’t leave without observing the dress code and the way people engage with each other. This could help you get a sense of the company culture before your onboarding process. As you start work, don’t worry if you’re feeling lost. In most cases, your leader will reach out and support you – that’s when you can take guidance and direction from them.

“If the leader doesn’t guide you on how to connect and what is normal in the workspace, you might like to approach the people closest to your working space for a brief introduction chat,” says Robyn. 

While learning about your new role, it pays to update your manager proactively. You can do this via structured and timed meetings, such as allocating 20 minutes at the beginning and end of each day to communicate with your manager.

During the session, let your manager know your focus and priorities of the day, and how you plan to work on them. For example, you can say, “Based on what you have advised, these are my top three priorities for today. Would you like me to follow through with these or would you want to meet with me before I do?”

A summary email at the end of the week can also be helpful. In this email, let your manager know what you’ve done and who you contacted in the week. This could come in handy especially if issues arise, as you would have informed your leader of your intention beforehand.

If you feel that your manager is not guiding you, consider asking for their leadership. You can initiate that conversation by saying, “I’d like you to guide me on how you want me to integrate into the team, and can we review that on a weekly or monthly basis?” 

Impressing your colleagues

Whether you’re working remotely or in the office, making a positive first impression with your team members always helps.

If you’re working in the office, be mindful of how you present yourself. “Do try to make gentle eye contact and smile, and if they give you a questioning look, jump in and introduce yourself as they may not realise you are a new person,” says Robyn.

You can also ask for a few minutes to introduce yourself at your first team meeting. To keep it light and professional, prepare a short speech that includes these points:

  • Your name and the role you are taking over
  • Your previous role and what you achieved 
  • What you’re looking to do in your new role

End your introduction by inviting your colleagues for a coffee chat, so that you can connect with them in person. If you’re doing it over Zoom, keep your camera switched on so others can put a face to your voice. 

It may be easier to start conversations with colleagues who are more sociable and vocal, but remember to connect with others, too. After all, it’s not about finding a new best friend – it’s about learning to work with your colleagues. 

“It is important to understand other people’s priorities, ways of working, and skills so they may be a resource to you,” says Robyn. Reaching out to others actively should be a concerted effort, too. “When working remotely, you will not have passer-by engagement, so you will have to work harder over the long term to maintain workplace relationships beyond your direct colleagues. You might want to create space for socialising, such as a coffee chat or an online game.”

While socialising, it is okay to use the “I’m new” card for one to three months. It will allow you to be inquisitive about the company culture and ask questions such as “Where does the team go for lunch?” and “How does the team celebrate birthdays?”. 

That being said, avoid asking personal or divisive questions like, “Are they nice?”. Instead, hold off forming an opinion about others’ temperament after settling into the new environment.

Impressing your clients

Are you in a client-facing role? Once you’ve settled in, send an introduction email to your clients and invite them to connect with you. In the email, mention your working hours, preferred communication methods and the tasks that you are responsible for. This sets the tone of how you work and helps people align with you, says Robyn.

“This is a good time to let people know you are open to their advice and feedback on current systems and processes. It’ll also get you up to speed about issues or problems you may be ‘inheriting’”. 

Impressing in a new job

To set yourself up for success, it’s imperative to “unlearn” unproductive work habits and start with new, productive ones straight away. For Robyn, this means tracking her progress with a personal journal. 

“I set brief expectations at the start of the week and review my achievements and interactions at the end of it. I do this weekly to allow emotions which may arise to dissipate, so I can think more objectively and constructively afterwards. I measure these experiences over time and map them back to my advertised job description. It provides me with evidence of what I have achieved in the role.”

When starting a new job, allow yourself about 90 days to settle in. This serves as a buffer to observe the environment and pick up on relationship dynamics among coworkers. During this transition, Intellect’s network of behavioural health coaches and counsellors are always ready to lend a hand. Whether you’re looking to process feelings of anxiety or grow into a new role quickly, our live video consultations and real-time text messaging are reliable round the clock. 

Read more about coaching on Intellect here.

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