What Works for Them Works for You
If it feels extremely generous of you to work so hard to support training and skill improvement activities for your employees, go ahead and take a minute or so to enjoy the feeling. Then take a few steps back and look at the bigger picture. Unless you're a working manager with job responsibilities similar to those of the employees you manage, it's probably not necessary for your skills to match those of your employees. Still, you need to know enough to know whether your employees need additional training and if so, in what. Subscribe to newsletters and magazines that are relevant for your industry or field. Ask employees what publications they would find useful. Web-based resources are abundant, too, and becoming increasingly sophisticated.
Many companies require managers to have at least a bachelor's degree. Though experience within the industry is also crucial, the market for managers has become so competitive that education level is often a screening criterion for job candidates.
Does your company have an education support program that provides tuition reimbursement and other benefits for employees who go back to school? Many colleges offer evening classes and distance learning programs by computer, targeting working adults who want to advance their formal education. Many companies have education requirements, such as a graduate degree, for managers. This is most likely the case if you work in an industry where the people who report to you have advanced degrees or levels of education. Even entry-level positions that are on the company's promotion track are likely to have minimum education requirements that may not have applied to you when you before you joined the management team. If your education is in a specialty field, you may desire further education in another field or in a broader area.
Progressive companies support ongoing education and training for employees at all levels. Larger companies may have their own programs to teach management skills or be willing to send new managers to outside programs. Even if your company has a human resources department that handles the legal end of employment, it doesn't hurt for you to know the basics. As a front-line manager, your accountability may be limited when it comes to such matters. As you progress upward in the management hierarchy, however, you must learn more of the details. In small companies, midlevel managers may conduct all human resources functions. Encourage yourself to update and expand your skills and expertise the way you encourage the employees who report to you. You can never know too much!