Make a conscious effort to begin and lead your on-boarding. Don’t wait for it to happen.

1. What made you successful in the past won’t guarantee success in your new role. Don’t treat the new role the same as previous roles.

2. Your past strengths could now be a weakness. If you’re transitioning or on-boarding from an individual contributor to manager, be cognizant of a normal tendency to micro manage staff who preform your last function. Remember that you should teach them, coach them, ask opened ended questions of them, but don’t do their job as they’ll come to resent you and feel inadequate.

Be conscious of your problem preferences. i.e. problems you tend to gravitate towards because this plays to your strengths. Will this serve you in your new role? Similarly, be leery of blind spots. For example, do you hate dealing with political HR problems? If so, you need to find a trusted advisor to help with this.

While in the early stages of your career, most people will build up a network of technically savvy advisors (hard skills). However, as you continue up the ladder, you need to identify advisors with soft skills in political council and personal advice.

3. A good practice to establish credibility is planning your on-boarding and sharing the plan with your new manager. The plan should contain goals for each of these periods:

  • Before you start
  • End of the first day (if you have control over this)
  • End of the first week
  • End of the first month
  • End of month 2
  • End of month 3

The plans will be sketchy, but you have demonstrated that you’re not going to allow yourself to be dragged by the nose. It should be written, even if just bullet pints, with priorities, goals, and timelines.

4. Whether you like it or not, some will resent you being at the company/department. There may be those who applied for the job themselves, recommended another candidate, or staff members themselves being transitioned to under your management. Handle with care.

If you’re transitioning within the same company, shed your last role’s responsibilities as quickly as possible. If you keep track you will be surprised that a significant percentage of your time is being allocated to your past responsibilities. Ensure your new manager knows of any lingering demands.


This phase on the on-boarding is a journey, not a destination. Be constantly sure you’re engaging in the right issues.

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