The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA

Business

February 20, 2014

Recovering from bad first impressions at a new job

Question: I think I made some mistakes with my new staff when I started this job, and they now seem to lack confidence in me, which has been communicated to my boss. He now seems to have some concerns. How can I get things on track?

Answer: Demonstrate your management skill and technical knowledge to establish a positive base.

THE INNER GAME

Let go. If you tend to beat yourself up, forgive yourself. Instead, focus on your breathing and move to a deep state of calm. From there, envision the working relationships you’d like to foster, imagining the day-to-day interactions with each individual as well as the overall culture you’d like to shape.

Now look realistically at the situation. If you’ve been feeling embarrassed or ashamed, that may color your objectivity. Write down the course of events from when you started through the present as though you were someone else neutrally describing it. While you’re likely correct that there were missteps, it may not be the case that the outcomes are as dramatic as you originally felt.

Analyze the specific mistakes. Did you come in too tentative and undermine their confidence in your ability to do your job? Or was it the opposite, where you came in too hard but uninformed? Is the perception of you fairly unified, or would different people be likely to provide different feedback?

Consider why you interacted in this way. Is it your way to be open and honest, but under the stress of a new job it showed up as oversharing? Or are you a take-charge type of person, but nervousness made you come on too strong? Spend some time really understanding this because it’ll help you turn the overuse of a strength into an asset.

Finally, make sure that you’re not sabotaging yourself in any other ways or in other settings - this could be a pattern that undermines the strengths you bring.

THE OUTER GAME

Consider your options for moving forward. At some level, there can be a “least said, soonest mended“ dynamic. However, if the issue goes beyond one minor gaffe, this wouldn’t be sufficient. Instead, modify your interaction style and set a new starting point for you and your team’s interactions.

Let’s use the example that you said more than you should about your self-perceived limitations. In proper balance, this taps into the strength of openness and candor. Since you haven’t been in the role a long time, you could have “how’s it going“ conversations that emphasize your openness. At the same time, bring an air of assurance so that it doesn’t come across as additional neediness. If you don’t feel this assurance, continue to work through the reasons that you’re questioning your own abilities.

With your boss, your next steps will depend on your relationship. Ideally it’s open enough that you can discuss his concerns and allay them as much as possible, recognizing that success will come from your future actions. Make a plan to obtain regular feedback to ensure that you’re meeting his expectations.

THE LAST WORD

While first impressions are important, decisive action to overcome them can help you succeed in your new position.

Liz Reyer is a credentialed coach with more than 20 years of business experience. Her company, Reyer Coaching & Consulting, offers services for organizations of all sizes. Submit questions or comments about this column at www.deliverchange.com/coachscorner or email her at lizdeliverchange.com.

1
Text Only
Business
  • Fancy management systems won’t fix bad managers

    In violation of my long-standing “only watch TV” rule, I read an article recently about how Zappos is adopting a management structure known as holacracy.

    July 30, 2014

  • Your Office Coach: Supervisor-employee boundaries must be honored

    QUESTION: Two weeks ago, my husband “Barry“ unexpectedly came home from work with a large flat-screen television. He explained that one of his employees gave it to him as repayment for a loan. I was shocked, because I had no idea that Barry was lending people money.

    July 29, 2014

  • Silly mistakes that sink job applicants

    Some employers won’t care - or won’t catch them - but mistakes in word usage can put your application in the reject pile.

    July 29, 2014

  • Watercooler: Raised to the roof

    Q: Over 15 years, I have worked my way up the corporate ladder with the same organization. I have been given a raise every year and excellent reviews, as well as several promotions.

    July 25, 2014

  • Career Coach Q&A: job search follow-up; introverts as leaders

    Starting a business:

    Q: I have a stable job that I don't hate, but I have an idea for starting my own business.

    July 25, 2014

  • How to become a leader

    QUESTION: I’ve just been promoted into a leadership role. I’m excited, but also kind of overwhelmed. What do I need to do to be good at my new job?

    July 24, 2014

  • Balancing Act: How much is your time worth? Consider outsourcing some tasks

    Todd Paton has a booming business getting customers noticed on the Web. One tool he uses is generating online press releases to build brand awareness and create links that will send traffic to a customer’s website. But Paton, owner of Paton Internet Marketing, acknowledges that writing the releases is not his strong suit. Rather than spend his time doing it, he hires out the task.

    July 23, 2014

  • The Color of Money: No easy way to get out of debt

    Many people who are deeply in debt are desperate for a quick fix. They ask the question: What can I do to get out of debt?

    July 21, 2014

  • Watercooler: When to speak up if you see problems down the line

    Q: Our organization has hired a new director. I am one of a number of division heads; above us, there's the associate director, and above him is the director. The associate director is feared and disliked for his duplicity and dictatorial nature, though few have come forward because of his vindictiveness.

    July 18, 2014

  • Career Coach: Bringing a purpose-driven spirit to work

    Increasingly, religious beliefs and practices of employees are becoming more evident in the workplace. Religious diversity and concepts of spirituality are more prevalent in organizational settings.

    July 18, 2014

Business Video
Stocks