Leaders are said to need greater training and coaching to deal with the added responsibilities they face climbing the career ladder.
The comment comes after a survey found that leaders place career transitions - the point at which leaders are promoted from one level to the next - second only to dealing with divorce when considering different life events.
Over half - 59% - of leaders rate career transitions as very or extremely challenging according to the research from the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) and Development Dimensions International (DDI).
While 79% felt that training played an important part in a leader's success.
Vanessa Robinson, CIPD's Organisation and Resourcing Adviser said: "Our research shows that coaches and external advisors play the most significant role in leadership transitions with 43% of senior level leaders citing their contribution.
"We wouldn't expect people to take on an unfamiliar technical role without the appropriate training and support. Yet all too often we're happy to let people loose on important leadership roles without helping them to develop the necessary skills.
"Providing training and equipping leaders with the right resources and development tools are essential. Leaders need to understand that their new role requires different ways of thinking and a 'mental shift'."
Simon Mitchell, Director, DDI said: "People are promoted in order to succeed, not to fail but it seems that many leaders that succeed do so despite a lack of effective support from their companies.
"Simple things like helping newly promoted leaders anticipate what they need to do differently would make a huge difference to the effectiveness of those in transition."