Don’t Play The Training Blame Game


There is one line when it comes to training that unfortunately ranks right up there with “It’s Not My Job.”

It’s a default line that people in leadership and training capacities throw out to put the onus on the employee and absolve the true responsibility from themselves.

When asked why there is a gap in performance or an issue with a team member knowing their job, almost without fail the person responsible claims:


“Well, they should know how to do it!!”

(Can you see the shift in ownership in this statement?)


Training, both in the initial on-boarding process and in continuing job development, is the process where the organization fully gives the employee the “5 W’s” (Who/What/Where/Why/How) of the position specifics and each task to be mastered. It is leaderships’ obligation to ensure that every employee has the full training, support, and resources necessary to accomplish, understand, and prosper in their job roles.

But when there is a deficiency in performance, the organization rarely if ever claims fault. They almost always defer to the employee.

My response to these leaders has usually been:

“Yes, they should know how to do it. But it’s apparent they don’t.” (Leaders response – “Yes they don’t”).

“Were they shown and taught everything they need to know to do the job?” (Response – “Uh, yeah, they have” – note the hesitancy starting to occur here)

“So they know how to do this task as well, if not better, than you?” (Response – “Um, no, they don’t.”)

“Do you think they’ve been thoroughly trained to do the task as well as yourself?” (Response – “I guess not.” – admission starting to surface now)

“Were all the training materials we worked on together used to help <employee> understand their role and tasks?” (Response – “No, they weren’t fully used.”)

“Do you believe it’s your responsibility to train each and every employee to know their jobs as well as you do, if not better?” (Response – “Uh, yes, it is.”)

“Can you tell me some areas where you and your training team could have done better by <employee> to teach them everything they need to know?” (Details of where training fell through start to be revealed – by this time the leader knows full well where they dropped the ball. I also transition from closed questions to open-ended questions to elicit admission and actions.)

I then wrap up with “What steps can you take to get <employee> fully and completely trained?” and “What do you realize that you could have done differently to avoid this issue and make things smoother for everyone involved?”

The goal is to have the leader walk away with a renewed understanding of their total obligation to each and every staff member. What’s amazing is it usually only takes this one time, not just per person, but for a team of leaders. Once the conversation has occurred, they become a promoter to the other team leaders and help them take initiative for properly training their staff.

Training is the lifeblood of every organization. Without leaders fully giving everything they have to the development of their people, organizations like the US Armed Forces, San Antonio Spurs, and Chik-Fil-A could never deliver the missions they set out to achieve.

Shifting blame develops no one, including yourself. Take ownership for building your people UP.


(image courtesy of




About Paul LaRue

My goal - To encourage you to lead & influence others with positive impact.

Posted on July.22.2014, in Leadership. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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