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Must Read if You Recently Accepted a New Position in Higher Ed Admin


You felt it was time for a new job. You applied for a higher level position in administration and were offered the position. Congratulations!

It is celebration time but instead of feeling happy and confident, you feel intimidated. You may even go as far as self-diagnosing problems and telling yourself you suffer from impostor syndrome.

You ask yourself, what if you aren’t ready? What if you don’t know enough? What if you look incompetent? What if people don’t trust you or don’t like you? What if they come to think they should have hired someone else? What if you fail?

If that’s what you are going through, STOP! Don’t let your mind create a problem that doesn’t even exist.

I am here today to open your eyes to the truth and tell you how to be successful at your new job. So keep reading.

The truth

Focus on these facts and you’ll start feeling better immediately.

1. You went through a rigorous hiring process and were offered the position. That means you are qualified for the job and your new boss knows it. The institution could have kept searching for someone else but they chose you. You met their expectations. If you didn’t, you wouldn’t be here.

2. It is not realistic to compare yourself to the world’s best [insert your job title here]. You are brand new. You can’t possibly know today what you’ll know in a couple of years. Nobody is expecting you now to be the leader you will become once you get your feet wet. So take a deep breath and don’t create unjustified pressure.

3. If you already knew how to do everything in this new position, this job would be boring and you would need to leave. I mean it. When you are no longer learning and growing, you have to walk away before you lose your edge and become a passionless paper-pusher. Feeling challenged is what will keep you sharp and on top of your game.

4. If you were more qualified for this job, you would probably look over-qualified and people would expect you to be a short-timer. Think about it for a minute: if people think you belong elsewhere, they won’t bother building a professional relationship with you. They will expect you to abandon them as soon as something better comes along.

5. You are here because this is where you are supposed to be now. So tell your inner-critic to be quiet, take a long vacation, and let you do your work!

I hope I have convinced you that on day one, there is nothing to worry about. That being said, the way you think of yourself and the way you interact with the campus community can turn this job into a dream or a nightmare. Here is what you need to do to create the best outcomes possible.

How to avoid common mistakes

Step 1: Realize your new job is not about you.

Your new position is not about you but about the service you are here to provide. If you focus on being liked and getting external validation, you are going to be a poor leader. If your self-doubt causes you to look for approval, things are not going to go well for you. So remember, this is not about you. Stop making yourself the center of your thoughts. Focus on service, excellence, and dedication. Set goals for the institution, not for your personal feelings. I’ll say it one more time. It’s not about you.

Step 2: Build rapport with your new co-workers.

People may not always remember what you said but they will always remember how you made them feel. As you start meeting your new peers, faculty members, staff, and other community members, notice things you can appreciate about them. Look for what you may have in common or what you can admire. Remember that it is time to build rapport, not time to be critical and find problems to fix. Train your brain to look for what is right rather than what is wrong. When people feel that you sincerely appreciate them and see what’s special about them, it will naturally create a strong foundation for future collaboration.

Step 3: Make no assumptions.

Never assume that what worked well on your previous campus will work well here too. Don’t over-estimate your ability to solve problems you don’t fully understand yet. Take time to listen and learn. Put your ego aside. No matter how smart and competent you are, if you don’t know the people, culture, and history of your new campus, you are going to be wrong. So don’t make assumptions.

Step 4: Gain support before you make decisions.

Even if you were hired as a change agent, if you jump into decision-making too soon, you will inevitably make enemies. Please don’t think that your title alone allows you to shake up everyone’s world. First you need to consider whether your vision is appropriate for your new campus. So before you make any drastic changes, get to know people, involve them in discussions and build support and alliances before you make anything official.

Step 5: Find the courage to be transparent.

Nobody expects you to be perfect and there is no need to put on a show. Remember that you want to earn people’s trust, so don’t bend the truth or pretend you don’t need help when it’s clear that you do. A truly confident leader doesn’t waste time and energy trying to protect his or her ego. Do your absolute best at your job, be a servant leader, and be accessible.

How well you will do at your new job depends more on your mindset, focus, and behavior, than on how competent you were on your first day.

You are here now. You have earned it. It is time to let go of your insecurities and step up to a higher level of trust and leadership.

I know it may seem easier said than done but you don’t have to do it alone. If you tend to engage in self-doubt or have any other type of discomfort in your new position, I am here to show you how to step into your brilliance.

Click here if you would like to schedule a time to speak with me about your current situation and how we can work together to make this chapter in your career an exceptionally successful one!


About the author: Dr. Audrey Reille has empowered thousands of professionals through one-on-one coaching, group coaching, speaking engagements, online courses, and interviews on international telesummits. Audrey is the go-to coach for leaders in higher education administration. She empowers them to thrive by reducing stress, optimizing strategies, improving professional relationships, and developing a strong and empowered mindset. For more information and free resources visit

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