In my book The Training Physical, I devote a chapter to keeping professional development on the annual plan for training department personnel. With one exception in my 26 year training career, every manager I have worked with has seen the value in training people getting annual professional development too.
The one exception came from an operations manager that managed a training department but knew nothing about learning development and/or adult learning. She was a blast to work with, very funny and down to earth, but clueless about what our department did for a living. She used to push back on professional development and say that it was our job to provide professional development, not get trained ourselves. Brilliant!
Now while it was easier to remember to focus on my own professional development when I was the employee and then the manager, I have had to really make an effort as a consultant. As a staff of one, I have to remember to keep my skills current, but also look for places to stretch. Yesterday I attended a seminar on HR Laws, which was quite a stretch outside of the training development field.
I was struck by the first break in the content over how often companies get in trouble, pay high penalties and court awards for violating federal and state laws. I asked the trainer if I was missing something simple, when if we trained manager more than we do if these issues would be minimized. She looked at me and just grinned and she said “Duh!”
It wasn’t rude, just an obvious assumption I made. For the past 15 years we have done an awful job of training managers, and if you entered the management ranks 15 years ago, you not only missed vital training, you are now in leadership roles managing managers that also don’t know the rules. Because we have gone so long without training managers in too many industries, the HR department is constantly putting out fires.
Now while it may appear that I am getting off track, I want readers to see that if we are not training our employees, it is going to be really tough selling the need for our own personal development each year. So make sure you are training everyone in your company, including yourself!