Starting a New Job

About a month or so ago I started a new job. I didn’t realize how much time I had spent building relationships and figuring out processes and how to get things. It can be an amazing and frustrating thing to start something new. Here are a few things I learned and tried along the way.
One important thing that I learned is how important it is to have a good understanding of your “informal value.” Jim Collins in his Good to Great in the Social Sector pamphlet refers to this as legislative leadership.

Legislative leadership relies more upon persuasion, political currency, and shared interests to create the conditions for the right decisions to happen.

In the nonprofit world autocratic leadership doesn’t really work. I needed to get to know my fellow staff and understand and show respect to the processes that were in place before I came up with or tried to institute any new ideas. This can be incredible irritating and frustrating but I found it to be so important.
Read as much as you can about the organization. Figure out how they talk about themselves and how they present themselves to the community. I try and take what I’ve learned and make it my own so I can talk competently about the organization using a mix of their words and mine.
One of my biggest mistakes coming in was being too concerned about what my “new role” was going to be. I started to realize very early that the more time I spent in the organization the more I would start to see gaps and understand what I really needed to push to move along and what happened naturally already.


4 Responses to Starting a New Job

  1. Janice Chan says:

    Jason, I really appreciate your understanding that when you start in a new position of leadership at an organization, immediately changing things is not necessarily the best approach. Things are the way they are for a reason. Maybe the person who started the project just lacked experience, maybe there are other restrictions, who knows. But you won’t be able to fix the problems unless you understand what’s causing them first. Or likewise, fill in gaps unless you know where they are. And plus, making immediate and drastic changes rarely goes over well with the current staff… Granted, I could be biased b/c I don’t deal well with change in general. But I still appreciate and I’m sure your new coworkers/staff do too!

  2. I really like your focus on listening and learning about the organization.

    I’m increasingly convinced that the most important skill in marketing, fundraising, community organizing, and nonprofit leadership is EMPATHY. You need to be able to understand what your audience, your donors, your volunteers, and your employees are going through and how they see things.

    If you take the time to develop and show empathy, it goes a long way to create the conditions for “legislative leadership.”

  3. Thanks for the great info. I hope you’ll follow this with some more great content.

  4. […] – bookmarked by 1 members originally found by Sasukerules135 on 2008-10-14 Starting a New Job – bookmarked by 1 members originally found by […]

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