It’s Not Easy Being Green

Happy St. Patty’s Day!

I hope you find yourself surrounded by lots of green….in the business world, never a bad thing.

But let’s talk for a minute about a different kind of green—the green of an inexperienced new hire, who may or may not be up to the challenge of his or her new responsibilities.

We’ve all been there—and can share tales of our respective “trials by fire.” Hopefully, we learned from those mistakes, misfires and miscues.

But it does not have to be trial by fire! Here are a few tips on keeping those wrong turns to a minimum during your next stretch as “the newbie”—and you can use these tools as a manager to help ramp up your new hires.

Find a mentor. This is probably the single most valuable tool in the new manager’s toolbox.

Yes, there are literally hundreds of books, videos, and TED Talks full of supervisory development and training ideas. But forging an effective one-on-one relationship with a willing individual who brings years of experience and perspective to the table can be the most helpful learning tool of all.

However, it takes more than just a few lunchtime chats and email exchanges. Successful mentoring takes place within a structured and focused environment, with clearly defined goals for both mentor and mentee.

Done right, tapping into the thoughts of someone who’s successfully walked your path is the best way to avoid many of those pitfalls.

Don’t go to lunch alone. While we’re on the subject of lunch, don’t waste a good daily opportunity to learn more about your new organization’s culture.

Be proactive and reach out. Invite seasoned colleagues to join you for a quick bite, both fellow supervisors and members of your own team, and tap into their knowledge.

It doesn’t have to be as formal as a mentoring relationship, but for the newbie, every conversation has the potential to provide some excellent insider info about your new employer (as well as your lunch companion.)

Listen first. Everyone knows you’ve arrived at your new assignment full of great new ideas and bold new initiatives, chomping at the bit to put them into play and shake up the status quo.

That’s great—it may be a big reason you were hired. But temper your enthusiasm with the prerequisite of getting to know the lay of the land before you start building.

Use every meeting as an opportunity to listen first, and develop a thorough understanding of what may be involved in bringing your great ideas to life.

Even if your ideas are wonderful, jumping into the high-level decision-making process prematurely may get you shot down right out of the box, sabotaging your game plan and slowing your roll even more. And be very careful of phrases that start with “at my old office…”.

No, as the old song goes, it’s not easy being green….but with a little discretion and a strategic approach, you can, in those first few weeks, create a framework that will set you up for years of success.

Grow Big or Go Home!