So you’re the youngest staff member or intern working at your dream company and you want contribute to your professional team, impress your boss and make friendly connections with your colleagues by the end of week one. Well, how to get started?
Here are 8 Quick Tips for becoming a leader in a new office setting:
1. Do your homework
Make sure you understand the goals of your employer, general trends in the field and basic terminology associated with industry. Talk to friends who worked for similar employers, family friends familiar with the area and alumni on Dartmouth’s career network for advice.
2. Listen and learn
Especially in your first week on the job, be a sponge. Take in the office environment and ask questions of your colleagues about expectations for your work. Try to avoid bothering your boss with small questions that you could ask someone else or figure out on your own.
3. Lean in
As you start to settle into your routine, continue to look for ways to be an asset to your employer. Offer to learn additional professional skills or tasks around the office. Look for which managers in your subfield seem to be busiest and offer to assist them with their work if you feel under-tasked.
4. Speak up
Especially as a relative outsider, your feedback may be especially valuable to an employer. Listen and learn about a company’s practices and goals, but have a critical eye. Even though a company is used to performing a task one way, there may be a better way to accomplish the same goal. Speak up with a suggestion if you think you see room for improvement.
5. Articulate your needs
Overworked with mounting deadlines? Speak up about what you can and cannot do and check in with your employer about which work you should prioritize. Reach out to colleagues for assistance with balancing work if they seem under-tasked. That said, try to arrive to work early or on time and do not be the first one to leave, especially as a new member of the office.
6. Don’t forget to say thanks
If you work on a project in a team, don’t forget to give credit where credit is due. Your colleagues will be more willing to work with you in the future if you do.
7. Look for a mentor
Really respect someone higher up at your new company? Offer to take them out to lunch to learn more about their career trajectory to reaching that position. Ask them about skills and insights that have helped them along the way.
8. Pursue leadership opportunities outside the office
The best way to learn leadership skills is to practice them. Whether competing on a team, participating in community service initiatives or guiding hiking trips, look for ways to practice management and leadership skills in settings outside the office.
Adapted from “10 Steps You Can Take to Become a Successful Young Leader at Work” on Forbes.com.