4 Action Steps For Your First Day On The Job
In our work with churches and organizations, we hear too many unfortunate stories of new hires that fail to last longer than a few weeks on staff. This is often because the new hire has neglected to lean into the church's culture or be proactive in the first couple of weeks.
The problem is often something simple and could in most cases have been prevented. Here are 3 things to do in your first few weeks of your new job that will help you get started on the right foot:
1. Build relationships
Relationship building starts on the first day of the job.
As a new hire, it is imperative to be proactive in engaging your fellow staff members during this time. Once you meet your new team members, take the time to introduce yourself and get to know the team better.
Building relationships early on will ensure that your transition is as smooth as possible in the weeks and months ahead.
2. Learn the culture
Peter Drucker is quoted saying, “Culture eats strategy for breakfast.” The truth is, a lot may change about your role at the church or organization, but the effects of a well-defined and intentional culture will not change. Culture defines who the church is, so it is extremely important that you are a ‘fit’ for the culture of your staff team.
The #1 reason we hear that staff members are let go from their job is they were not a cultural ‘fit'. It is important that you not only ask about culture before your hire, but certainly after you are hired as well. Once you become a full-time team member, it remains a necessity to continue to ask the right questions and learn all aspects of the culture that you are now part of. Doing so will get you clarity and more actionable insights into what it’s like to work there each day.
3. Listen, listen, listen
The importance of being open to listening extends far beyond your first day on the job. Understanding how to listen will impact both your leadership and communication abilities. The most important thing to remember about listening is that it is a process that requires much effort on your part. Here are a few important things to remember while you are listening those first few days:
Remove any distractions. If someone is speaking with you, focus solely on what he or she is saying. Put away your cell phone, laptop, or anything else that may take your attention off the person speaking. This is not the time to multi-task; it is the time to demonstrate your commitment to listening in. By cutting out extra distractions, you value the person and the content that he or she adds to the conversation.
Remember names. Although you might be overwhelmed by meeting the entire staff team at first, one of the best ways to make a great “second impression” is to remember someone’s name. If you do forget it (because we are human, after all), then ask them to repeat it at the end of your initial time together. You can use your ‘notes’ phone app to list the names and a connection point with your new team members. Dedicate yourself to remembering the names of your staff team and you will continue to make a good impression on them.
Respond briefly. Do your best to not make the conversation about you. Use your first few weeks to learn as much as possible about your team members. You will have plenty of time to share your story, so take this time to become better in-tune with the people around you.
4. Earn Trust
If your new team members trust you, there are no limits to what you can do to accomplish God’s mission for your church.
Here are a few ways to earn the trust that you will need to make it to the next level of leadership:
Always keep your word. Always keep your word, even in the small things. When you tell your new team members that you will do something, you have just made a verbal commitment to do it. Once your new team knows they can trust you, you will be able to move the team to new levels of ministry.
Follow through. Fulfill your commitments and keep your deadlines.
Don’t gossip. Team members will quickly pick up on gossip about another team member (even if the team member was part of your previous job). Gossip is never the right choice, regardless of the situation!
Admit your mistakes. Be the first to apologize when you know that you made a mistake. It does not project weakness; it projects security.
There are a lot of ways for new hires to pave the way for a successful season of ministry, but hopefully these will help ensure a foundation in your new role for the years to come.
What are some ways you've prepared for your first day on the job?