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Recognition of the Differences between Perception and Reality

Tip #5 Recognition of the Differences between Perception and Reality

I want to remind you of the first four tips for transitioning into a new position:
Tip #1 – Develop a Formal Introduction the First Day
Tip #2 – Listen More, Talk Less!
Tip #3 – Changes Should be Made Slowly
Tip#4 – Negative Thoughts On Previous Administration Should Not Be Shared

Now for Tip #5
Recognition of the Differences between Perception and Reality

This one is tricky. It can happen when a manager is promoted within an agency and for sure when a manager is going into a new organization.

Let’s talk first about an internal promotion. All of us in the workplace make assumptions about what people’s roles are and how they are performing those roles, especially if we have the ability to witness that performance on some type of consistent level. The trap that occurs internally with this type of access is that we “think we know” but truly “Do we know?” I would advise all internal transitioning supervisors to realize that the purview that you may have had may not give you the information needed to make an informed decision and that bringing that into the new scenario would be a mistake. Employees want to be treated fairly and they want a manager that has the ability to gauge their work objectively. That having been said, they need to know that you are starting out with a clean slate. This is NOT easy but good managers practice this relentlessly.

Now, let’s discuss an external move. I think almost always what is perceived to be the situation is never the exact situation. So, my advice is to be prepared for that. Do your homework up front on your new agency. Talk with people that you know that may know the agency intimately, make sure you ask the right questions of management to get the best feel of the organization and stay curious. When you apply for a job, typically in government, you look at the agency, the benefits, the salary and you do some homework on the town, city or county and determine then if you are interested in being a part of their team. Everyone’s best foot is forward but be mindful that you don’t know an agency truly until you are a part of it. Make sure, as best you can, that your values line up with the values of that organization. It is hard when the perception is that it does and then to find out that it does not.

Finally, in conclusion, it so important that you practice the following thought process when transitioning into a new role:

  • First Day Impressions Should Be Planned
  • Initial Six Months is a Critical Time Period – Move Slowly
  • Change is Difficult for Most People because the Benefit is not Understood or Communicated
  • Understand Your Reality
  • Listen and Evaluate!
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