How to Earn Respect at a New Job
Stand out from the very beginning!
By Joe Issid
Monster Contributing Writer
Monster Contributing Writer
Starting a new job is a major life event. And the first day at it can make us all feel like a frightened child on the first day at a new school: everything is unfamiliar, faces look unfriendly and you have no idea where to go. But you are a grown-up now and you realise that you cannot hide under a desk and cry anymore. Your actions in the first few weeks at a new job are critical to how you will be perceived and how you will feel as you settle into your new surroundings. To ensure that you put your best foot forward and establish a strong professional reputation, follow our guide on how to earn your peers’ respect at your new job.
Many companies do not have established employee introduction or orientation sessions. Very often, you will be given a desk and a computer and asked to begin work right away. While we are not endorsing this practice, it very well may happen to you. As such, do not hide behind your screen and wait for people to approach you. Take the time to introduce yourself to your new colleagues and make the effort to inquire about their roles and functions. Be sure to clearly state your primary responsibilities so that they know exactly what your contributions will be. This will go a long way towards feeling more comfortable in the new environment and letting your co-workers know that they can approach you when necessary.
Respond to all Communications
You should never hide behind the “new guy” mask at a new job. It is rarely advisable to sit back and let other people respond to communications that may be addressed to you or your team. Be sure to reply to any emails that relate to you, regardless if you are able to help right away. This establishes yourself as responsive and responsible and the authority for things within your domain. You will eventually learn the specifics of your new job so get stuck in right away.
You have been hired for a reason. If you see something in the workplace that is questionable, raise a flag. For example, if a Quality Assurance process seems cumbersome or redundant, bring it up to the appropriate person. Never underestimate the capacity of a fresh set of eyes. Companies routinely fail to see flaws in their processes and are very often noticed by newcomers who bring a fresh perspective. You will earn a tremendous amount of credibility and eventually become the “go guy” for trying to address things that seem illogical to you. Always keep in mind that there is no such thing as a dumb question when you are new to a job.
When I start a new job, I do not bring in my own lunch for the first week as it forces me to explore my new surroundings and also gives me the opportunity to eat with my colleagues. This has always been invaluable for me to get to know my colleagues and to get a good lay of the land. Eating alone at your desk is both lonely and also can alienate you from your peers. Take the time to engage with your fellow workers socially as it can provide great rewards.
Know Your Role
This is especially important if you are assuming a managerial position. The first impression that your staff has of you will stick for a long time so be cognisant of how you conduct yourself and respect the limitations of your role. A recommended approach is to meet with each staff member individually and discuss precisely how you intend to manage the team and what your expectations are. Clearly defining your role and expectations can go a long way to ensuring harmony and clarity in the workplace.
At the end of the day, we all behave differently under similar circumstances. Just keep in mind that starting a new job is a very stressful and difficult endeavour. Do not apply too much pressure on yourself to fully engage in your new job right off the bat. Take the time to assimilate to your new reality and make the effort to present yourself both professionally and socially. A small amount of effort in the beginning will go a long way to ensuring that you are well regarded and respected down the road.