Transitioning to a New Position in a Remote Workplace
September 24, 2020
Transitioning to a new position, whether at a new employer or at your current employer, is hard. It brings about myriad emotions ranging from fear and anxiety to excitement, motivation and determination. These feelings can be exacerbated if the position is one that is newly created or one that is evolving. Add in a new virtual workplace, and you have all the elements needed to make the transition one of the most stressful changes a person can make. Here are things I learned while transitioning to the newly created position of Practice Group Manager at LP:
- Exercise patience. Be patient with yourself and others. Mistakes will be made. It is how you react to those mistakes that will be an indicator of your success. Acknowledge when you have made a mistake and ask for input on correcting it. Take the time to really listen to others and to yourself. Slow down!
- Stay organized. In the beginning, you might be a bit overwhelmed as you shift into your new responsibilities. Keeping copious notes and organizing your digital world will be key to your success. Using programs like Microsoft OneNote and a strong filing system (both physical and virtual) were very helpful for me.
- Leverage Technology Resources. At LP, our IT team regularly brings in new software and offers creative training to help us learn how to use it to our advantage. Our IT team includes a User Experience Champion who has helped me to find tools that work for me and others.
- Be prepared for unforeseen situations. This is particularly important when your new position is also new to your employer, as mine was. Directions may change as you test the waters. Emergencies will come up. You may need to pivot from an entirely in-person environment to an entirely virtual environment. Use your change management and resilience skills to help with the unforeseen. This is where #1 comes in handy also – you will need to roll with the punches.
- Be tenacious. Do not give up! It can take 6-12 months to transition into a new position under the best of circumstances. In these unprecedented times, it may take even longer. You may feel throwing your hands up sometimes. On these days, remember the old saying: “Anything worth doing is hard to do.”
- Be a voracious learner. Read, read, read. Invite others to send pertinent articles to you. Attend webinars, find the experts around you and soak in all they offer. Consider a professional coach who can help you hone your skills or learn new ones. LP has both a virtual and a physical Management Resources library, including materials specifically relating to our firm and great books on management in general. Making use of these resources was very helpful for me, so I encourage others to seek out and make use of these types of resources as well.
- Be prepared to be vulnerable. Vulnerability is uncomfortable, but it is necessary not only for a time of transition but also for any position of leadership. Vulnerability fosters trust from others, and you will need this trust to accomplish your goals.
- Reject “imposter syndrome”. You know what you are doing – even if it may not feel that way. You were hired because others saw in you what was needed for the job. When it is hard, allow your cheerleaders to remind you that you belong in the room where it is happening. At LP, we foster teambuilding, friendship, respect, and support – all of which are very helpful during a tough transition. See #1 above – be patient with yourself.
Remember: transitions are hard, even good ones. But with the right tools, you’ll be able to navigate the new terrain.