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ASK HR: Help! I have no idea how to execute my new job

Friday April 5 2019

I am yet to get the hang of my new job. PHOTO | FILE | NATION MEDIA GROUP

I am yet to get the hang of my new job. PHOTO | FILE | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

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Q. I got a promotion at work three months ago, but I am yet to get the hang of my new job since I haven’t been able to fully deliver my mandate. I have many ideas, but I am afraid that if I keep sounding them off my boss, he might think that I am inefficient. How do I go about this dilemma?


Congratulations on your promotion, which I am sure is well-deserved. Though you are within the standard learning curve of any new assignment, this may vary given the nature of your job.

Clearly, you are feeling under pressure to deliver within a short time frame, but it is not clear whether this is coming from yourself or your boss. Nevertheless, you are the best judge on what you had hoped to achieve and should therefore have an idea about what is holding you from executing your job.

Before you bounce off your ideas by your boss, be sure you have thought them through and are clear about what feedback you expect from him. If you keep running to him every time you get a new idea, he may soon start questioning your capability. Also, consider prioritising your ideas and then align them to the timelines required of your key deliverables.

Every new job opportunity presents a challenge, but there are key steps that make it easier to settle down. You first need to fully understand what your new job is. Ensure it is explained to you clearly and documented such that there is a clear job description to go back to when in doubt.


Since a job description is a broad explanation of your role, you need to further agree on specific deliverables that may be captured in a work plan document or performance template. These objectives need to be aligned to the company’s strategic plan and to your department’s deliverables, which includes your supervisor’s.

The next step is to ensure that there are clear indicators on how achievement of each goal is to be measured. Finally, ensure each objective has a specific timeline. This is key because performance is not just about achieving set objectives, rather, about achieving such in a timely manner.

Also form a habit of checking with your boss every now and then, it is his job to guide you and ensure you are supported to deliver your job. It is also his responsibility to ensure you are well resourced to perform. This means that you have all the tools you need to do your job, that you have the right team and that you have the budget and necessary finances to facilitate your work. It is also important to encourage an open relationship with your boss, make him feel that you can be trusted.