Even for the most gifted individuals, the process of becoming a leader is an arduous, albeit rewarding, journey of continuous learning and self-development. The initial test along the path is so fundamental that we often overlook it: becoming a boss for the first time. That's a shame, because the trials involved in this rite of passage have serious consequences for both the individual and the organization. For a decade and a half, the author has studied people, particularly star performers, making major career transitions to management. As firms have become leaner and more dynamic, new managers have described a transition that gets more difficult all the time. But the transition is often harder than it need be because of managers' misconceptions about their role. As Linda Hill explains, those who can acknowledge their misconceptions have a far greater chance of success.
From the January 2007 issue of Harvard Business Review.