7 Reasons Why Most Managers Are Poor At Training
Over the last few weeks I have had three conversations that underscore how poorly companies train their people in general.
The first was a young man who worked in a regional financial institution. He was selected with a handful of colleagues from other branches to have lunch with the COO. During the meeting the COO was asked about better training and said they could not afford that right now. He then talked about a new branch opening and detailed a thin and flawed training plan for those new staff. He then asked the employees why they thought turnover was so high, to which the employees responded that the lack of training was a key factor. The COO dismissed that, then continued on to other items.
The second conversation was a very intelligent young woman who was hired to process data and market information. She felt as though what the job she just took on is not what was promoted to her. She feels she is not being taught as she goes, and that her skills are not being utilized to her true talent level. She also felt isolated, needing more formalized training, and that she cannot get the answers or resources she feels she needs to both understand and perform her job.
The third discussion was with a industry trainer after a coaching session conducted for a hospitality group. The staff hung on every word of the training as they saw an immediate value in what was presented. The owner of the group came in and out and would discount some of the ideas, saying that the staff doesn’t do such and such. The trainer’s response to the owner was that we’re not worried about what happened in the past, but going to focus on how to make things better starting today. While they are still working on the owner’s understanding of best practices, the staff all hung around for 30 minutes afterwards to gain more advice and show how excited they were that someone was showing them how to service customers better.
Training is an essential part of the leadership job description. Leaders that allow poor training to occur usually are of the opinion that it’s the fault of their people, or just plain ignorant of their lack of leadership skills when it applies to training.
The following are actual reasons from various leaders and organizations on why their training is poor, followed by some common sense thinking on where the real issue lies.
“<So-and-so> does all the training”. This response is a deferral to others and an excuse that the leader doesn’t qualify the training content or type of trainer. Not knowing what is going on in your organization is a dangerous habit that allows poor practices to seep in.
“There is not enough time to train”. Also, “don’t have time, too busy”. While there may indeed be too many things going on or too many distractions, you cannot let the business dictate whether you train or not. Leaders must plan to train in spite of all the obstacles.
“I expect you to know what I’m thinking”. Yes, this is an actual quote someone’s boss said to them. An arrogant or indifferent attitude will never have the trust or best efforts of their staff.
“I know what the job description says, it also says ‘other duties as assigned’“. Training must cover ALL facets of the job. And when a new wrinkle comes up, then great leaders find ways to teach their people, and themselves, how to succeed in those new circumstances.
“The employees went through a couple of days of training, they should know what they need to do”. In some states, it takes 40 hours of parent-supervised driving before a teenager can sign up for driver’s education. In order to gain competency in any task, at least 21 days of teaching and habit-forming practice must occur to master a baseline, let alone gain complete understanding.
“It’s not my job”. Beware of leaders who foster this attitude, particularly among themselves. No sense of teamwork will ever come from them or their people.
“We need to watch expenses”. Translation: “We don’t make it a priority” Money before people is a sure-fire disaster for any organization. People properly trained will always yield a higher return.
Many times poor management of training leads to unwarranted performance issues, not of the employee’s own doing. Great leaders know how to generate great results, returns, and retention metrics by knowing how their people are trained and getting them the right training in the right manner.
Don’t fall into these excuses. Determine today to make your people better by deliberately making your training top-notch.