Melissa Lamson* says that high achievers who have landed a coveted leadership position should expect to have to learn a whole new set of skills very quickly.


You have been constantly climb in the hierarchy of your work, demonstrate your technical mastery and distinguish yourself as a rising star.

Once this rising star has ascended into the constellation of management, what should you expect?

According to a Gallup poll, 60% of employees would trade a raise for no longer working with their manager – 70% of employees are still disengaged or actively disengaged.

Therefore, management and leadership skills are essential to improve productivity and motivation.

So all those hours of coding, executing assignments, and producing deliverables that were asked of you paid off.

Now you can direct the whole show.

What will you do to motivate and inspire your team? It’s time to make a plan and mobilize your resources.

As you prepare to lead, consider the following.

Administrative tasks will take your time:

There will be the new component of increased administrative work, such as status reports, HR forms, and audit compliance tasks.

These tasks will always be part of your job description.

Know that this administrative work is a necessary part of getting things done within your organization.

You know someone was doing it on your behalf all those years ago.

Thinking of it as a to-do early in the day when your energy is high is a potentially more effective and satisfying strategy than rushing it when all you want to do is call it a day.

Also, as someone new to the administrative component of your new position, you may discover barriers to efficiency — outdated processes that others have stopped “seeing”.

Share your feedback with your management; yours may be the prompt they need to reassess some time wasters.

People management demands will multiply:

Names morph into real people who depend on you for guidance, assessment, and direction.

You have found the crux of the difference between your old position and the new one.

The number one tip to follow when it comes to people management is this: don’t let situations fester in the airless darkness.

Be direct, be proactive, appreciate that the relationship brings as much return on investment as most of your tangible business efforts.

You are not sure you can redo what you like:

You don’t have to let the demands of all that paperwork and people management completely displace your connection to the job that brought you here.

One researcher recommends allowing “indulgences,” which means allowing yourself to continue discussing the topic that propelled you up the leadership ladder.

Everyone wants something from you:

Being in a leadership position puts you squarely in the middle of various sets of expectations – those of your employer, your employees, and your customers.

You may feel like an impostor, with a spiffy new title on the outside and the same practitioner mindset on the inside.

Your former peer now wants a day off when you need them to lead an initiative.

A subordinate is upset that the revised office floor plan results in less window space.

There are rumblings of dissatisfaction coming from various corners of the building over topics ranging from the trivial to the serious.

You may be thinking, “That’s not why I signed up.”

When you encounter problems based on people’s needs, deal with them while they are small.

It’s natural for some newbie managers, especially if they don’t have formal management training, to think “it’s going to work out” or “it’s not that bad.”

There is one component of management that is not strategically delineated in black and white: the discipline of building connectivity.

We need to feel connected to others and, in turn, them to us, because greatness is never achieved on its own.

Fostering connectivity is as essential as attracting a new client, writing the perfect program, or sticking to the budget.

If nurturing connectedness makes you anxious, hire a mentor who can help you figure it out.

Remember who you are:

Despite the extra administrative work, the challenges of managing people, and the distance between you and the opportunity to practice your skills, you still owe it to yourself to keep the spark of your individual strengths alive.

It’s easy to get overwhelmed by the cascade of competing demands.

Be sure to stay true to the professional and personal identity you are forging.

*Melissa Lamson is a leadership expert with experience in over 40 countries. She can be reached on Twitter at @melissa_lamson1.

This article was first published on the Lamson Consulting website.