When you advance in an organization and gain additional responsibilities, often the scope of your job increases as well. You’re in for a tough time if you continually try to act in the same way instead of changing your behavior to reflect your expanded scope.

Think of your responsibilities as concentric circles. As your breadth increases, it behooves you to interact with those in the further circles differently than you did when you were closer to them, now often learning about them through those in circles closer to you.

A head banker may work through tellers or tellers’ supervisors to hear client feedback instead of receiving it directly as she did when she worked behind a counter in the branch, and instead spend more time with other department heads. A restaurant manager may work through shift leaders instead of spending time with individual employees so that he can devote more time to learning from peers or other franchisees.

I was coaching someone who works on a campus and was lamenting how the additional responsibilities took her further away from direct student contact. But the new role shifted her “circles” and made working with those above her demand more time and attention. She could work 14-hour days trying to do it all, or she could interact with the students through her direct reports instead.

As you rise to the top and have a broader scope, by necessity, the circles with whom you interact/influence naturally change. I encourage you to identify who occupies priority ranking in your circles (for example: boss = #1, peers = #2, direct reports = #3, other colleagues = #4, indirect reports = #5, etc.) and then consider the time you allocate to each. It may help you to loosely plot out a week’s time by circle — does it achieve the distribution (not balance) that you want?

Don’t spread yourself too thin and shortchange your inner circle by trying to do too much with your outer circle (even if they are more fun!)

About the Author leadership dots by dr. beth triplett

Dr. beth triplett is the owner of leadership dots, offering coaching, training and consulting for new supervisors. She also shares daily lessons on her leadershipdots blog. Her work is based on the leadership dots philosophy that change happens through the intentional connecting of small steps in the short term to the big picture in the long term.

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