A manager need to learn about the psychology of people at work and in groups. That not all people work the same. Some are inherently more efficient and productive working in one manner while others are more efficient and productive when working in a different manner. Some can get by with headphones in a noisy open environment, others require a quiet office to themselves. Some do well bouncing around from one part of a program to another, a breadth first sort of traversal of the code. Others do well drilling down into more and more detail in a single part of the program, a depth first sort of traversal of the code. In short, they need to learn that there are no universal answers. No universal manner in which to measure productivity. No shortcut for managers, that management is hard and you have to put in a lot of work to do it right.
A manager also needs to develop an increasingly better understanding of other departments in a company or organization. How do the accountants look at this project? How do the marketing people look at it? How do the executives think it fits (or doesn't fit) into their objectives? Are any of the preceding or other interests in the company failing to properly understand a project and it value? How do I persuade them? Well the first step in persuading them is to understand their perspective and concerns. Then you can address these concerns in a manner that they understand, from perspective they have. Management is hard, you not only need to possess a deep understand of the specialty of the people you directly manage but you need to have a working understanding of the specialties of other people in unrelated departments. Again, there is no shortcut. Its hard work.
On recurring theme in all the case studies of real businesses and project that you will study, regardless of area or topic (engineering, marketing, managements, etc) is that most failure are human in nature. That people were in the wrong position, used in the wrong way or were just plain unfairly treated. People both inside and outside a team, and inside and outside a company. A lot of this came from the arrogance and overconfidence of a manager. Hint at what not to do.
So where does one learn more about the psychology of leadership, the psychology of people at work and in organizations, how to motivate, how to persuade, etc. Well that is what MBA programs teach. MBA programs are not about bean counting, finance and accounting. MBA programs are about taking a person with deep understanding of one part of an organization and providing them with a working overview of all the other classic parts and functions of an organization.
Yeah, I said it, an MBA. MBAs are not like other Master's degrees where you delve deeper into a specific topic in your field of expertise. It is an overview of a complete organization. Statistics, organizational behavior (a bit of the psychology stuff I mentioned), marketing and sales, consumer behavior, product development, accounting and finance, management, strategy, operations, information technology, business law, negotiations (which is not limited to contracts, convincing others to see your perspective, to persuade them is a negotiation), etc. Basically you leave an MBA program the same as you entered. If you were a scientist before you are still a scientist, an engineer still an engineer, ... but now you can better understand and communicate with other people in the company or organization. You can be more effective and persuasive at representing the perspective and interests of your specialty. You are a geek that can communicate effectively with an executive if need be.
Roughly 1/3 of my MBA class were scientists and engineers. Less than a quarter accounting and finance people. The classes I took were often very interesting. Personally I was constantly amused at how misinformed I had been. I had the classic engineer's disdain for anything business and marketing, thought marketing was just snake oil and misinformation for example. I was pleasantly surprised to find that my marketing class was actually based on mathematical and scientific principles. That the expected marketshare for a new product was *not* just a number pulled out of ... uh ... the air ... but rather it was a number estimated from mathematical models of the market before and after a product's introduction. A model based on an actual ranking and weighting of customer preferences. Actual vs stated, special surveying techniques are used to determine actuals. Yes, still merely modeling, an educated guess, but not the just "making up" of an answer or the "assuming the same number" as a different product that I had expected. It was nothing like I imagined. Pleasant surprises in most class. Lots of laughing at myself and my former misinformed assumptions. Well, except for accounting, that does suck. :-) Fortunately there are people who genuinely enjoy that.