Oh, what a great feeling! Your new job abroad is coming up and you’re off on your first flight to a new place to meet new people and make much more money to realize your dreams. Absolutely right. As long as you’ve seen that small ‘rock’ up ahead where you may stumble and fall. Not to worry, you can walk past that ‘rock’ as long as you know how to. If someone had advised you that “all you need to do is work hard and all will be well”, he was right. But he just over-simplified everything. Because to do well in your job, you must also work well with the other people involved. It’s a walk on two legs: 1) your work quality, and 2) your handling of the work environment. If you manage both, you prosper. If you lose focus on balancing these two ‘legs’, you stumble and fall.
You may already know, or will quickly, pick up the ropes of your job. But you must know how to manage your work environment and how to handle the bumps ahead! You may face competition, resentment, antagonism, hostile sarcasm, exclusion, favoritism, and groupism from older hands. And it’s with tactical maneuvers, always subtle, from the first day onwards that you can effectively manage your work environment to progress in your career.
To make the right impression starting from your first day at the new job abroad, you need to develop good people handling skills. Here’s how you can make smart tactical moves to become part of the team and reap the benefits of your skills and hard work:
1. Relate to everyone; blend into your team.
Reach out and introduce yourself to all with a pleasant smile. Don’t forget their names and try to get on a first name basis at the earliest. Start interacting with everyone, including the aloof. Maintain this but make sure you don’t overdo it as it will appear false.
2. Start with your boss.
Evaluate your boss and keep him fully informed of everything. Seek his advice before, and approval after, executing assignments. Build a relationship of mutual understanding and trust through your total support and relieve your boss from resolving small issues by getting guidance from co-workers. Make him feel that you’re self-motivated. Offer to do things beyond your defined role so he gets to rely on you.
3. Get excited by your role.
While dealing with your co-workers, express enjoyment of your role and appreciate others’ roles by showing interest and understanding of their challenges. This will soften them towards you and help you understand the work systems quickly.
4. Talk less. Listen more.
Your time for talking will come, but till then, learn to listen. Even if you know something that is being explained by someone, hold back any ‘oh I know that’ response at this stage. Later, you can communicate that you knew what was being discussed but still wanted to know more or how it worked here.
5. Ask relevant and in-depth questions all around.
Let your queries make everyone feel good about their own skills and knowledge and they will appreciate a chance to give you their good advice. Take notes on critical issues to indicate that their advice is being taken seriously. Avoid trying to be smart and showing off how much you know.
6. Maintain a list of your successes.
Start keeping a record of your successes for performance review meetings. You may need this for the opportunity to be promoted to the next level or for any other jobs that you apply for in future.
7. Be professional.
Always dress conservatively to look professional. This is not the time for trendy styling, weird hair or untidy appearance. If you look professional you will be taken seriously and people will show faith in your job knowledge, capabilities and sense of responsibility. Exude cool confidence in your capability. Ensure respect of all colleagues and copy the more successful people around you.
8. Make early impact.
Positive first impressions that you give out will form the basis of how others will see you in the future. So make sure that you can live up to the expectations you set at your interview.
9. Avoid early networking.
Till you figure out your workplace dynamics, maintain total neutrality with everyone. Don’t avoid those colleagues with a ‘difficult’ stigma as they may reveal a lot about who is what in the hierarchy and what goes on around you. Avoid joining this or that clique.
10. Stay away from workplace politics.
Organizations inevitably comprise sub-groups and politicking. Do not initially become associated with any group. Treat all such groups with equal courtesy but don’t get aligned with any.
11. Utilize Twitter, Facebook, etc.
Show your sociability by connecting with your colleagues on social media and look out for all happenings in the organization. Establish new relationships and use their pointers to help you progress in your career goal.
12. Involve in after-hours activities.
Utilize every chance to bond with your new colleagues and avoid misbehavior, and excessive drinking that will tag you and may even exclude you from future gatherings, particularly involving families.
13. Show appreciation.
Be liberal in praising others because nothing works like genuine appreciation, particularly for persons who help you learn the ropes in your early days.
14. Find a mentor.
Commencing from your first day of introductions to senior staff, start selecting a suitable mentor in the organization, preferably outside your department, who could guide and even protect you in advancing your career.
The good thing out of all this is that it will mature you for the larger games that you will have to play in your later career. Correct yourself as you go along and you will find yourself becoming an outstanding performer.