What to Do When You are Newly Employed or Join a Group.

When you’re newly employed in an organization, your actions in the first few weeks will determine whether you will succeed there or not.

I am sure you have seen someone that was employed by an organization and instantly, he begins to generate unprecedented results. I am also sure that you have seen people that were employed by an organization and they struggled to fit in. The difference is knowledge.

Let’s learn from the story of Bill. “Bill joined a multinational oil company shortly after graduating from a respected Ivy League school.

With an engineering undergraduate degree, he was seen as a high-potential employee and treated accordingly.

After eighteen months in the company’s leadership training program, he accepted his first job at a natural gas processing plant.

Eager to demonstrate his prowess and potential, he spent a week getting to know the operation and then scheduled an appointment with the plant manager, a seasoned veteran of the oil and gas business who had no formal education beyond high school.

In this meeting, Bill reviewed the list of “10 Things We Can Do to Run This Plant More Effectively.” The plant manager listened intently, responded courteously, and thanked Bill for his effort.

After Bill left the office, the manager picked up the phone, dialed headquarters, and said, “Get this weenie off my staff before I shoot him.”

Perhaps the plant manager overreacted. Still, the story illustrates the mistakes people make. In his mind, Bill was ready to play a stage 3 or stage 4 leadership role. He was doing things, he thought, that would make him look like a high performer.

In the supervisor’s mind, however, Bill hadn’t earned any credibility yet. Bill’s naive “presumption of leadership” was premature and actually made him look like an amateur leader instead of a high performer.

He needed to first build a foundation of relationships and expertise, and then begin to exert more directive leadership at the plant.

Following comes before leading. Bill should have spent time learning what is required to succeed in his operation. This would have meant soliciting and interpreting customer expectations for the operation, recognizing how leaders responded to those expectations, learning the expected behaviours and norms that sustained those expectations (like not telling a seasoned boss how to operate the business with little or no experience).

The problem is that some people are impatient and arrogant. Even if someone has been a vice president or director at a previous firm, he or she needs to spend few days (perhaps even weeks or months) learning how things are done in the organization and building relationships with old staff.

Bill should have spent quality time with the plant manager to find out how things are done in the plant. Giving instructions in your first week at the new job will only make people to frustrate your ideas and innovations no matter how great they are.

So, when you are newly employed by an organization, spend quality time in building relationships with the staff you met in the organization. People respond positively when you respect them.

You must do the same thing when you join a group. Don’t show them how knowledgeable you are the very day you join them. Behave as if you know nothing for the first few weeks. In fact, they should be the ones to find out how good you are.

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  1. Thanks for this I just find out why I met some oppositions trying to bring in new ideas in the past in my office.

  2. Wonderful write up full of lessons,
    This urge for more humility.
    Keep touching lives sir!

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