Why You Should Lead Like a New Hire

Shawn Temple

Recently hiring a new On The Mark Strategies employee brought to mind my own experiences as a new hire and all the important lessons learned on Day One.

Think back to your first day at your credit union or community bank. It could have been a few months, years or even decades ago. No matter when it happened, you remember how it felt to step through those doors. You’re nervous about not knowing the people, the building, the culture. Everything from the smell of the break room to the pattern of the carpet feels unfamiliar, and there aren’t many comfortable moments.

While that may not sound very appealing, you should treat every day like Day One.

OK, maybe not exactly like Day One. (Eventually you should know your way around the office and remember your coworkers’ names.) But there are still plenty of lessons you learn from being “the new guy.”

Ask Questions

 

On Day One, your new coworkers expect questions. Honestly, people would probably be a little concerned if you didn’t ask any. You don’t hesitate to raise your hand and ask about things like company lingo, expectations and how to use various programs.

But when you think of someone in a leadership position, you might imagine them not asking any questions at all. Somewhere along the way, we started believing leaders simply had all the answers.

In order to confidently make decisions and answer others’ questions, you must ask several of your own.

Constant curiosity and absorbing information are traits of someone deeply engaged with their organization and its mission. And these traits will help you discover your credit union or community bank’s problems, too. After all, it’s hard to find solutions without pinpointing the problems first.

 

Look For Improvements

 

Bringing in a fresh set of eyes is invaluable for any team. Even the most forward-thinking institution can fall into a “we’ve always done it this way” mindset. It’s one of the reasons performing regular marketing assessments is so important.

Day One is a safe time to question why things are done a certain way or why people don’t use a different approach. But it doesn’t need to end there. You can discover room for improvement every day.

You’re probably sitting there thinking, “I don’t want to be that person who’s constantly finding flaws.” And I don’t blame you. So, here’s a magic word.

Even. Seriously…that’s it. (You don’t seem convinced of its mystical powers, so I’ll explain.)

Compare the following phrases: “Know what could make this better?” vs “Know what could make this even better?”

Try it out the next time you spot something wrong!

 

Bring the Energy

 

It’s tough to match your enthusiasm on the first day of a new role. Despite the uncertainties, you’re fresh and ready to hit the ground running without any baggage from the previous week/month/year.

How do you fire yourself up the same way on Day 1,000?

Remind yourself each morning how much of a difference your community bank or credit union makes. Don’t be abstract about it, either. Be intentional and actively look for the good. Ask around for specific stories of people you helped.

This fuels your own fire and encourages teammates at the same. Your culture will benefit from focusing on the positive, especially since there’s no shortage of Debbie Downers out there.

Maybe you or some of your top performers could use that Day One boost again. Check out On The Mark Strategies’ leadership training to recapture the hunger of a rookie and bring your organization up to speed.

Shawn Temple
Strategy Director
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