A New Workplace? Have I Made a Mistake? by Tarran Deane

Transitioning into any new workplace is always an adventure. A position description and your interviewer’s perspective is only part of the story. There’s still plenty to discover below the surface; that’s the beauty of good on-boarding programs and integration strategies.


Sometimes good intentions and reality don’t always gel. We get that. A new employee’s internal, unmet expectations can lead to gossip at today’s most popular water cooler, social media, and kick start either great discussion, and ideas moving forward – or an avalanche that damages both personal and organisational brand. It could lead to good people leaving and unnecessary losses of recruitment dollars, IP and reputation


But it doesn’t haven’t to be that way. Remember that line your friend used to say, “I’m not a mind reader!” Unless we talk about things at work, how can we grow together? Recognising the team development cycles are important and can help you regain perspective if you’re feeling a little lost:


Storming, norming, forming and performing are 4 important little dynamics that team members should become aware of when welcoming a new comer or entering as one to the business.



It’s always appropriate to take personal responsibility for your integration & performance, while being mindful of whether you’re coming across as dissatisfied, self-seeking or genuinely caring about the organisation and new team mates.  Consider the following:


Context: how did you arrive; were you ‘flattered, headhunted, or recommended? Was your position advertised? What was the history of the role. Did others apply for the position? Is the role subject to funding? Who does it report to? Who do you talk to if you need to chat about how you’re settling in?


Conditions: did you examine the values, vision and operations of the business before you accepted the offer of employment? What do these things mean for your day to day satisfaction in the role? What are the parameters of your role, opportunity for growth or cross departmental contribution; succession planning; outstanding legal issues like workcover, union involvement? Have you been given timelines for a sequence of orientation & integration  checkins…


Community: what changes have the team been through over the past 3 years; what is the strategic direction of the company & how is the brand regarded by external stakeholders? Has there been a staff survey completed? If so, do the team know the results? If not, why not? Are there personality profiles completed on the team members that encompass Preferred Working Styles?


Characters: who are the lead players; what are their work preference styles? What are yours? Are there problem generators in the workplace? If people are leaving what are the underlying issues? Who should you be reporting to?


Credibility: are you clear on your own values? Do you make decisions by them? In your questioning are you upholding one another, peers & colleagues alike with integrity? Are people overworked and under-resourced? Is this impacting on people’s capacity to deliver on KPIs?


Circle of Five: start building an external network of mentors around you who can help guide you through the different seasons of your career. Importantly, also find out at the interview stage who will be your ‘do-to’ person within the organisation to show you the ropes. Download a copy of my eBook ‘Just What Do You Stand For? to learn more about the CIRCLE OF FIVE


But what happens if you’re already in the workplace? Is it okay to ask questions? Of course it is! As with all things, be wise and considerate to perceptions, but not driven by them.


Here’s my 7 tips for checking your motivation in asking questions in your new workplace


1. Always go straight to the source first. Honour your reporting lines or go back to your nominated HR person.


2. Do you desire a mutually beneficial ‘fit’ for employer & employee?


3. Are you prepared to ‘earn your stripes’ by being faithful in the little things?


4. Is your identity caught up in a title or how you perceive others  regard you?


5. Are you impatient to achieve and more ambitious than you realised? If you wanted to be a rocket scientist but chose to be a  shoe-shiner, you’re simply not honouring the shoe-shine company and both of you will be impatient and frustrated when your performance and values based behaviours don’t stack up.


6. Are you caught in a cycle of adrenal fatigue and burning the candles at both ends, leaving you feeling vulnerable and looking for constant reassurance? That’s not your bosses job. S/he is not your career counsellor. Seek medical attention, get your health sorted, and ‘own’ your emotions – doubt, fear, frustration….


7. What answer are you looking for? What if you don’t like what you hear – are you someone that takes direction well? Are you searching for the meaning of life in your day to day job? If you’re after passion + performance, you’ll need to make some key decisions. Perhaps developing an exit transition plan over a period of a few months so you don’t financially sabotage yourself, or proposing an idea for a project or team development opportunity to your boss, complete with the aims, objectives, timeframe, resources required and return on investment



The reactions you’ll get from management or others in the office can range from suspicion to gratitude and respect. All three are reasonable depending on the 6 Elements above and your motivation. So, next time if you’re wondering if a workplace is the right fit for you, be wise, consider all the points above before making rash decisions, or debriefing inappropriately with peers.



Give yourself and the rest of the organisation time to get to know each other during the integration or probationary period.



Serve. Learn. Lead from where you are.

What do you think? Should you ask questions when you’re settling into a new company? Is there a particular time or way to do it? Do the generations handle it differently? Do men and women approach new workplaces differently?


Go ahead and share this post, tell a friend, leave a comment and let’s be mindful when someone new enters our workplace, they might have a question or two!

by Tarran Deane


Tarran Deane is CEO & Founder of Corporate Cinderella, A Leadership Development Company working with Executives & Entrepreneurs in the Public & Private Sectors in Australia and Asia. Tarran is a regular blog and article writer, international Leadership Speaker, with recent topics including Building Your Leadership Brand, Developing the Trust Economy. Tarran’s clients include Institute of Women – Malaysia, Griffith University Business School, Academics, Pastors, Engineers, NGO Directors, Entrepreneurs, Australian Institute of Management, Rescue a CEO, Educators, Franchisees and more. It’s a pretty cool life. On weekends you’ll find Tarran, husband Dave and a bunch of mates riding their Ducati’s through the hills of northern NSW, leaning in and seeing through!


Tarran Deane is the Speaker You Need to Make Your Event Shine! What do you do when your heart compels you to serve, even in the face of decreasing resources, public attention and the conflicting desire and demand of family? 1 in 4 Australian leaders within a not for profit industry are currently off due to burnout; 2 in 4 are at RISK of burnout, leaving ¼ holding the fort. If you’re feeling the stress in your sector, you are not alone! Tarran Deane, Corporate Cinderella #Speaker, #Author #Coach #Consultant is sought after for her keynotes, conversations & insights on the topic of “See-Through Leadership”. Incorporating 7 signature steps and Keynote Leadership Titles including “See-Through”, “onBrand”, “Bold Leadership” & “SpeakUP”, Tarran courageously believes in, and role-models maximising talent, eliminating fear and promoting accountability, equipping contagious leaders to ‘see it through!’