9.27.22 Today’s Insights from Harvard Business Review: How to Figure out the Power Dynamics in a New Job
You may find it surprising to learn that the way a company and/or role “appears from outside” can differ meaningfully from what you experience after accepting an opportunity. For example, your actual role may turn out to significantly vary from how it was conveyed in the initial job description. Or you may learn, upon joining, that the professional who’d hired you may be planning to soon leave the company. Perhaps you’ve built a collegial relationship with a hiring manager during the recruiting process, only to learn that the majority of your on-the-job interactions are with a different leader, whom you have not met, or do not like as much.
All of such circumstances require adjustments to not only logistics (e.g., reporting relationship) but also to your expectations, behavior (and even emotions). Fortunately, one of the first, and best ways to make sense of “the unexpected” is to analyze the perceived “power structure” in the organization, to help you navigate the terrain.
Among the useful suggestions in the article below is to be curious about, and even to challenge, your own assumptions. Does having a particular title necessarily mean a given individual is truly the decision-maker on an important project? In another context, might a junior team member, who seems to be highly-respected, become a strong potential mentor? and so on.
Overall, some keys to succeeding in such situations include being alert, self-aware, open-minded and adaptable. As a former leader once put it, “try to read the tea leaves.”