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“My Boss Won’t Train Me”: How To Overcome This Obstacle?  

The excitement of starting a new job can be overshadowed when the reality is “my boss won’t train me” and you don’t quite know how to handle the dilemma.

Maybe your boss is extremely busy. Maybe they have a philosophy that it’s best to let new hires learn from trial and error!

Whatever the reason, an employee can be filled with resentment and disappointment about what might happen due to a seemingly bad relationship with a new supervisor.

If you’re really new to the field in which you have just entered, the anxiety of “my boss won’t train me” can be overwhelming. And, it is true that for a new employee to really shine, they should at least have a coworker that is assigned to mentor them for a few days or a supervisor that has a plan for training the new employee.

Supervisory oversight is a business model where supervisors are responsible for productivity, time tracking, and supervision of employees under their watch.

This type of supervision dictates the best way to get the most out of new hires in the least amount of time – is to have the supervisor see to it that they are adequately trained in what is often referred to as coaching.

Benefits of Boss to Employee Training

Coaching new hires is a very common and established process in one industry especially – the sales industry. It is likely because even if you are an experienced salesperson, you will need to learn the ins and outs of the new product lines or services offered along with the companies’ established client persona or customer base.

It would nearly be impossible to gain a good footing in selling wrought iron fence installations without good coaching if your former sales job was in women’s retail.

But, employee coaching is not just for the sales and marketing world. It is needed and works in just about all industries where there is a customer or client base that must be engaged, machines or equipment to learn and to operate, or office or factory floor processes that are unique to a company.

An employee doesn’t necessarily need to be coached in all job tasks, but leaving it up to the employee to self-diagnose their deficiencies, correct them, and improve until they gain good practices would take a lot more time than if that person was actually trained on what to do and how to do it right, in the first place.

The benefits of employee coaching or training include:

  • individual performance is improved
  • employee is more committed to the job
  • new hires feel valued by the company
  • entire staff feels more empowered to succeed

It’s hard to imagine a company that doesn’t promote some sort of training between supervisor and new hire. The corporate benefits to good training always include more proficient employees and better revenue – no matter what type of business it is!

Understanding some of the reasons why people complain and are faced with a situation where “my boss won’t train me” can help you overcome this obstacle.

Why A Boss Won’t Train New Hires

The most likely reason why a boss is not training new employees is because they themselves or the business has an unwritten practice to let new hires learn by trial and error.

Traditionally, people are hired with close experience and/or training in the field required by the new job. But, more and more, this is not the case, and every company seems to have their own way of doing things.

Even experienced coworkers may have their reasons for not helping new people learn the ropes. Most often, they may feel their job can be threatened if they train a new employee.

Job security is not just a concern for coworkers, supervisors have been known to quickly recognize when a new hire is sharp and quick to learn. Your boss can feel threatened by your eagerness to learn and progress.

But, we can go on and on about reasons why people complain that my boss won’t train me. Instead of taking it personally, it simply may be that your boss doesn’t have the time to train you because they are assigned too many other tasks.

An unmotivated boss, a lazy supervisor, a burnt-out department head, a begrudged supervisor – are all personal to that person and have nothing to do with you, the new hire who must find a way to gain the knowledge needed to succeed.

Read More: How To Explain Leaving a Job Due To Bullying

Overcoming the “My Boss Won’t Train Me” Problem

Take the lead in assigning yourself training sessions

Whatever reasons your boss may have for not formally training new hires, there is no excuse for not answering questions.

For office workers, take the lead in setting up one-on-one meetings with your boss. If your job is more production, then make it your job to find your boss, and be ready with a stream of good questions to ask.

Another option for taking the lead is to simply flag down your boss as often as possible and ask for help – or, better yet, use indirect questions. These are lead-in type questions that kick off a conversation that will eventually hold the information you need to understand a process or practice much better.

This type of micro-learning, a little at a time, can be just as productive as a full week of training. And, when you ask the right questions and the most important questions, you can likely figure out the rest by yourself.

Find other training resources and learn on your own

This option takes more motivation and drive, but with the advent of the internet, just about every subject out there has a blog, white papers, articles, manufacturers’ guidelines, professional associations’ knowledge base, and training modules that can offer superficial or in depth knowledge.

Often, the company will have lots of written history about processes, customers, clients, machinery, etc. Check if there is a library of some sort that may hold the vital information you need to succeed. Here is a list of online training platforms that offer low cost classes for almost every type of job there is:

These online platforms are called Learning Management Systems (LMS). They are typically self-paced learning modules, pre-recorded lectures, or live classrooms that teach specific information. The software administers the training program and tracks your progress from beginning to end. A wide range of educational, business, technical, and personal development courses and training programs are offered for free and for a fee.

Partner with a co-worker who is willing to show you the ropes

The best coworker to confront when it comes to learning how to do your job better is one that has been on the job at that company for a long period of time.

Why? Because this person will be likely to feel threatened by your success, and they hold a wealth of knowledge due to their experience with that company’s services, processes, and clients, along with the inter-workings of the company.

Always choose a model of success for your mentor. And, don’t hide the fact that you need help with learning how the company operates and how to do your job more effectively. This type of honesty will typically be admired, showing that you have checked your ego at the door, and are willing to ask for help.

And, don’t discount second-hand knowledge. Listen to how coworkers talk with clients, to each other, and to management. You can learn a lot from cubicles near you, if you simply listen.

And, for jobs that are mostly paperwork and without conversation, digging into past files can offer a lot of clues on how things operate and come to a close.

Work on improving the relationship with your supervisor

It doesn’t take long to get a feel for the culture of an office and management. Some companies simply have a cooler work environment that is geared more towards productivity and less towards communication.

One way to get trained without directly being trained is to ask for feedback from your supervisor. Take the criticism as a learning opportunity to improve your job skills.

Another indirect way to gain information on the expectations of management from their subordinates is to talk about corporate goals, division goals, and team goals. Not all at once, mind you, but a conversation about the goals of your division can be a way to align your activities with the company.

Finally, no matter what – maintain a positive work ethic. You can’t expect a supervisor to want to train someone who comes in late or takes longer lunch periods.

Sometimes a boss who won’t train you first needs to feel a personal or emotional connection. That means making a business lunch date, asking about your bosses’ children, or even engaging him or her in conversation about their passion-hobby can all lead to a better relationship with your supervisor.

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