Starting a new job is always nerve-wracking. Many of us feel a bit like the new kid at school when we join a new company, and the feelings of uncertainty can be even worse when you’re the one in charge! Here’s some tips to help you survive your first day on the job as the boss, with minimal nerves. 

  1. Meet your team. As soon as you can, arrange to meet with anybody who will be reporting to you directly. Meeting your new team gets them on board with you quickly and helps you get an idea of what’s already happening with your immediate employees. Try and keep this chat casual too; ask about them, their time at the company and their job role, as well as just asking about ongoing work. 
  2. Remind yourself why you’re there. Have you been brought in to shake up a stagnant team? Is your goal to increase turnover? Use this to build a plan for your first few days to get things started, using guides from experts like Jozef Opdeweegh.
  3. Resist the urge to criticise. Even if processes seem wrong or outdated to you, try not to criticise, especially if your predecessor was well liked.  Instead, present new methods in a positive, constructive manner. 
  4. Try not to constantly refer to your previous role. Nobody wants to hear, “At my old company, we did this,” all day long. Bring useful ideas, but don’t make it sound like you’re regretting the move. 
  5. Learn people’s names. If you’re bad at names, be honest and ask people to remind you. Make a real effort to learn names as fast as you can, even if it means writing cheat notes to yourself to help you remember who is who. 
  6. Ask to attend any already scheduled meetings. This means work continues even though you’re new and you can sit in and begin to get to grips with the work you’ll be doing. 
  7. Sit down with each team member of the first few weeks and find out some key information about their work. What do they think is and isn’t working at the moment? What changes can you bring in as a new manager? What can you do to support them?
  8. Don’t make a lot of changes all at once. Take the time to observe and bring in your changes at a more gradual pace to avoid causing upset and confusion with long-standing staff. 
  9. Listen well. Take in any issues that staff raise and be clear about any ideas you have to support them. Make notes about any meetings you have, whether that’s from your fact finding meetings with managers or large meetings with the whole team. 
  10. Dress the part. Find out about the dress code before you arrive, to avoid arriving over or under dressed. 
  11. Speak to everyone. Make the time to speak to everyone who will work under you, even if it’s just to say hello. Taking the time makes staff feel valued at a time when they may feel quite nervous. A new boss is unnerving, so put minds at rest by introducing yourself and being friendly. 

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