Your Learning Curve
Managers don't instinctively know how to manage. You probably went to school or studied in an apprenticeship program to learn what you know about your job. You relied on the expertise and knowledge of others to show you the way to proficiency. Managers, too, need training. In some respects, however, the situation is similar to the familiar lament about parenting — it's one of life's most vital responsibilities, yet there is no training program to teach new parents how to shape and nurture the young lives that are now their responsibility. Most people learn about parenting from their parents and grandparents and from friends who became parents before them. They might learn methods that are ineffective, yet they lack the knowledge or insight to identify them as such. Similarly, most managers learn about managing from the managers they've had through their careers. They absorb the good, the bad, and the ugly. Without a framework for understanding the intricacies of human relationships, they might perpetuate methods that are ineffective or even damaging.
Being the best at what you do doesn't necessarily qualify you to manage. It takes a very narrow, intense focus to excel as an employee — a dedicated, almost single-minded concentration to complete the tasks at hand. It takes a much broader, though equally intense, focus to excel as a manager. As a manager, you must manage a process, not produce a product. It's no longer your job to write computer programs or assemble components. It's now your job to manage the people who perform these tasks. You can't step in to rescue them when they become overwhelmed; instead, it's your job to find ways to help people help themselves. In fact, a manager's rescue efforts are likely to alienate employees, who often interpret them as not-so-subtle suggestions that they can't do the work themselves.