Coping with the pressure cooker early on in a new role
Have you been grafting away, solving problems, providing great service within a business for years and suddenly received a promotion or found yourself in a new role with a lot more responsibility? And are you wondering how you will handle the pressure and responsibility in that first year?
Here are a few helpful tips from my experience in moving up the ladder within a large regional family business, plus senior voluntary roles and expertise learned from colleagues and clients.
Identify where the business is headed
Talk to your boss or the owners about their vision, purpose and direction of travel. It will greatly help with your decision making and help you identify where you sit as a vital cog in the business, and how your decisions today will impact this: both now and in the future.
If there isn’t a clear destination, see if you can nudge the wheels in motion to start this process. Vision planning takes time, but it will greatly help when you’re all working towards the same destination.
Spend some time with your immediate line manager
That could be the director, chairman or owner, but find out their values and what’s important to them. What are their red lines and their beliefs? Know them and understand them.
Part of coping in a new role is being able to manage up and build good relationships upward. So agree on a regular communication process with your superiors; either via calls, face to face or online – and do this frequently. Create a structure and keep to it. If you miss a call or meeting because you are both busy, ensure you rearrange it.
Understand what you are accountable for and what you are not. This way, you can specifically focus your attention on what you can influence, and you don’t get distracted and stressed in the areas outside your control.
Use your freedom of choice
Remember: you always have a choice in how you respond to something.
A crisis event in life or business can often ‘just happen’, and it’s not always possible to do something about it. But you do have a choice in how you respond and change the outcome. Focus on your response and not the event.
Practice being mindful
This will help with all the above.
Build some reflection time into your diary. Take regular breaks and build in some recovery time; your brain needs to rest occasionally. It will help you see any problems you are working on in a new light, to help find the solution.
Spend time with the team you’re responsible for
Understand them—their strengths, what drives them and what makes them tick outside work. Show you’re interested and that you care.
You will get it back in bucket loads in terms of loyalty and hard work.
Plus, by knowing their strengths, you will get the best performance out of them, which will ease the pressure on you.
Remember: you are only as good as your team.
I hope you find these tips useful.