It can be both exciting and nerve wracking when starting a new job. Once you have the offer in hand, you mull it over, accept and begin planning the move (assuming your new job relocates you to a different city or state). For those in Student Affairs who have just completed graduate work and have a new job, the aspirations of putting your new found knowledge into practice can be exhilarating at times.
For me, I was just finishing up my master’s degree when I accepted a position that would have more responsibility. This job also had a start date which would land me on campus right at the beginning of the spring semester. I was excited. This new position would match both the knowledge I gained with a new found zeal for incorporating new ways to adjudicate student conduct.
Upon beginning this new role, my mind kept imagining all the new processes and systems that are at my fingertips to create. I wanted to dive right in and change everything without first taking time to understand this new culture I found myself in. I was a bit overconfident and lacked some humility. On one hand, I was affirmed in my qualifications and this provided confidence I needed to begin the work. Conversely, I was new. This was a new institution, new environment, and even new time zone.
This got me thinking, how many new employees strike the necessary balance of being confident in their strengths and abilities and humble enough to ask for help or guidance? I believe too often we can lean in one direction rather than somewhere in the middle. It is difficult to work with someone who is both overconfident and new. Yet, the pesky person who constantly needs direction or guidance can get annoying fast.
What is the magic, three step process of learning this balance? I hesitate to believe something like this exists. But there are some steps for you to take if you want to bring your talents and skills to the table while also learning to accept your limitations.
If you are bringing a new idea or process, explain your rationale. Get others to understand your vision and find those who buy-in. Allow people to recognize how you operate and how you are wired. At the same time, if you want to know why certain systems are in place just ask. Sometimes just being inquisitive takes humility. This means that you don’t understand and you are willing to be educated by those who have been at this particular institution longer than you.
Communication is what allows relationships to grow. Get to know those you work with and those you supervise. Chances are, they will let you know when you are scorching others as you blaze a trail into new territory.
FAIL & LEARN FROM IT
Often times we do not give ourselves a chance to fail or allow others to do the same. It is in those moments of failure that we truly learn and grow. You may not know you are being overconfident until you run over another employee on route towards your goal. Be humble enough to take that experience and grow from it.
BE WHO YOU ARE & AWARE OF OTHERS
The reality is, we have all been given unique talents and strengths. Some of it has been gained through study, experience, or just life in general. You were hired because what you bring to the table matched what the institution was looking for.
It is okay to lead from who you are. But also know that it is equally wise to lean on others who may know more than you do.
Be willing to walk in the confidence of who you are as a person and the skills you bring to the job. However, do not let that confidence get in the way of the humility it takes to ask for help when needed.
This is not always easy to do, however, it is necessary. For those who have experienced a transition to a new job and successfully balanced humility and confidence, what helped you achieve this?