About 5 years back I transitioned from IT to a construction site manager / safety officer position. The set of other site supervisors would show up on site, look around, and then file reports because things were not running according to schedule and such. The crews that worked for me loved me as their supervisor. Since I didn't have any experience in doing actual on-site construction, I decided to get out there and grab a shovel, spread asphalt, run a backhoe, drive a dump truck, pour concrete, build framing, lay pipe, run a tamper, etc. I learned from the people who are "on the ground" and doing the work. I could actually understand how things worked, what paces of work were safe and how hurrying things could cause dangerous situations to arise. I would make allowances in the schedules to accommodate the _actual_ work conditions so that things would be safe. If we were behind schedule, I could explain why and understood what could be done to compensate. The work crews liked working under me because I actually understood what it took to do the things which were mandated from above in a safe and efficient manner.
There's a lot to be said for knowing what your co-workers or subordinates do for a living. It ends up being better for everyone.
I'm no longer in that position, but any time during a job interview when I get asked things like "What do you respect in a manager?" or "What kind of qualities do you like to see in your supervisor?", I remember those times and tell the interviewer (who is frequently the person I'll be working for) that I perfer to work for people who have worked their way up. Started at my position and actually learned what's required to do my job so they can better manage our team. I preface this with something like "I don't know you, or your work experience, but I feel that managers should have to work in the position that they manage, at least long enough to know what it's like to try to hit unreasonable deadlines, or put in overtime to get projects done. In my experience, people who have been "career managers" just can't manage effectively." This seems to have one of 2 effects. Either they agree with me and express the same opinion, or they resent the fact that I don't think they can manage effectively. You can guess who the career managers are by their answer.