Quoth the Wikipedia:
"The Peter Principle is a proposition that states that the members of an organization where promotion is based on achievement, success, and merit will eventually be promoted beyond their level of ability. The principle is commonly phrased, 'Employees tend to rise to their level of incompetence.'"
In academia, we have a tendency to promote brilliant and productive young researchers (e.g., grad students and postdocs) into positions with a large management component (i.e., assistant professors who must run a research group). God willing, I will get promoted. But during my PhD,
I was not trained as a manager!
The conventional wisdom is: it doesn't matter! No professor ever took management training, and, hey, everything "works out" in the end. The main problem I have with that statement are the quotes around "works out." I have seen friends suffer through horrible, painful, sad grad school experiences as a result of having advisors who are brilliant researchers and terrible managers. Likewise, the advisor suffers because she/he is investing time/energy/money in a student that doesn't produce anything. So my question is
Q: How do I avoid becoming a terrible manager?
In particular, what kinds of activities have you seen successful leaders of large-ish research groups engage in? Did they take training specifically targeted at managing groups? Read certain books? Talk about it a lot with senior colleagues? Make lots of posts on academia.stackexchange? Or did they really all just fly by the seat of their pants, and let natural selection take its course?