Starting a new job can be a tough learning curve, especially if there is a level of leadership involved. There’s so much to get to grips with and new responsibilities to manage. You want to add value quickly and prove that you were the right hire. You’re trying to work effectively with people you don’t know very well and whose dynamics you’re not too familiar with. It’s tough.
So for those in office support jobs in London, particularly at team leader level and above, what mistakes should you avoid?
Mistake 1: Acting before understanding
There’s a time for making changes, but it’s not when you first arrive. Of course, you’re ultimately there to help things run more effectively, and some issues may be glaringly obvious to you from the outset, but there are always reasons behind things. By taking the time to understand how and why things work the way they do, and listening to experienced colleagues, you will learn how change can be introduced more productively.
This approach also demonstrates that you’re a team player and not intent on a one-person show. Do things gradually, seek feedback, and adjust your course.
Understand first, act second.
Mistake 2: Endlessly referring to your old job
There are two ways in which this goes wrong. One: whining about the old place and implying that everyone at the new place should be grateful for what they’ve got regardless of their feelings; or two: singing the previous place’s praises and pointing out how much better they did things.
Unfortunately, once you’re in a new place, the reality is that you need to switch to its culture quickly. People around you want to know that you’re there with them.
Mistake 3: Lying too low
Whether you’ve got your own office or you’re retreating to your desk and putting on your headphones, this can give a sign that you’re not interested. Approaching you as the newcomer may feel intimidating, especially for juniors. It’s tiring and takes effort, but in the early days you need to take the lead. Dedicate time to engaging with everyone regularly and enthusiastically.
Mistake 4: Taking too long to get down to details
There’s so much to learn in the beginning that it’s often easier to focus on the bigger picture and let the details pass you by. However, it’s not long before you’re assumed to know the details and if you haven’t taken the time to get to grips with them, this can be difficult to manage.
Make sure you understand every element of every task, both for yourself and any direct reports. You don’t want to be hauled over the coals for errors in a junior’s reporting a few months down the line. Ask a lot of questions at the start and drill down to get the answers you need.
Blunders in the early days are understandable and inevitable, but by avoiding the above mistakes they won’t have long-lasting consequences. With thought and effort, you can ensure that you make a really positive first impression.
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