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Keys To Success In New Positions


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Every new job, be it a promotion, a transfer, or a move to a new organization brings with it a new set of challenges and opportunities to succeed, be recognized, make more money, achieve goals, and on and on. The one constant every new position brings is change – change in your “Universe of People”; change in the skills required to do the job; change in relationships with former peers, bosses, subordinates; change in accountabilities; and change in how the assumptions and behaviors you have developed will work in this new situation.

This article deals with people issues – experience has shown that the key to success in any leadership role is based on effective people relationships and skills. Obviously, the technical skills and knowledge of industry, function and business are critical as well, but research clearly points to interpersonal skills as the key to success.

The purpose of this article is to help you identify critical relationship and behavior issues you will face in your new position and how to deal with them.

Essential One – How you establish your relationship with your boss is critical – don’t leave it to chance, or circumstances, or to your boss. Be proactive, and do not assume you and your boss are on the same wavelength – chances are you are not – and chances are neither of you are aware of that!

Solution: Write down the top three to five measurable things that you believe will create success in your position - ask your boss to do the same – then compare notes. Hint: agreement on two out of five when you first compare notes is fairly typical!!

Essential Two – Never assume the people that are working with you, for you or above you see things the same way you do – because they don’t. Every single person brings a set of skills, attitudes and behaviors different from every other person, and they will see everything through that lens – and it is different from yours. Perhaps not a lot different, but even little differences can result in big misunderstandings.

Solution: Changing the way people see things is very difficult. Creating a commonly understood set of results that all can contribute to and identify with isn’t easy, but it creates a sense of unity and purpose and direction and alignment of effort that overcomes the perception differences. Goals create understanding and direction and expectations.

Essential Three – Your expectations are different from the expectations of your boss, your staff, and the people that provide advice, counsel and support.

Solution: Express your expectations and be ready to modify and negotiate them – clear expectations between you and your “universe at work” are critical to success. The best way to express expectations is as goals that are consistent with and aligned with your organization’s goals. No more than three to five at a time!! And if your organization does not have goals to align with – and it is amazing how many do not – then set them up in your area of responsibility with visibility to your boss, peers and the people who report to you.

Essential Four - You expect people to behave in certain ways, based on your attitudes, behaviors and values; and they expect you to behave in certain ways – based on their attitudes, behaviors and values. You will all be disappointed to find that the behavior you observe is not what you expected.

Solution: Deal with results; every time you see a behavior that is not consistent with your own, reserve judgment and ask if it meets the needs and the goals of your organization. Remember solutions can come in lots of different wrappers, if you let them.

Essential Five – The only behavior you can control is your own – if you think you can control the behavior of others you are either kidding yourself or spending so much time looking over their shoulders that you cannot do your job! The corollary to this is since you can only control your own behavior, you can only influence the behavior of others through how you act. People tend to return what they observe they are getting.

Solution: Make a choice and realize that you will be treated the way you treat others – in 95% of the cases. There is an old saying” How you act shouts so loudly I cannot hear what you are saying.” Take advantage of the tools that are available that can give you a better understanding of yourself as the first step toward more effective interactions with others.

One more suggestion: When you start your new position, ask around and find out what problems need to be fixed. If you ask, you will be amazed how quickly you will find an opportunity to fix a problem of long standing while developing the trust and credibility that you need to succeed. And remember, the highest form of personal security comes through your accomplishments.

People relationship issues are the most challenging issues you will face in your career. They are also the most rewarding and the ones that can provide the highest leverage and the most opportunity to succeed. Work on building personal excellence in the people part of your work – it has universal application for you!

About the Author

Andy Cox and the Cox Consulting Group have helped many organizations in designing and implementing change. To reach the Cox Consulting Group, go to

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Article Published/Sorted/Amended on Scopulus 2007-11-06 14:31:50 in Employee Articles

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