Education

IT trainer shocked by demotion seeks advice

A trainer is demoted because of problems with his people skills. Here's what went wrong on his part and with his Director, and what he can do now.

In this blog, I'll address an email I received from a TechRepublic member:

I was, up until recently, a trainer. I trained new employees and current employees on new procedures, policies, and guidelines set by the companies we work with and the FDA.

My boss was always on all of us as to why we have so many technical errors, why policies aren't being followed, etc. In the past I discussed with her that the only time that she treated me as a trainer was when I was in trouble about something, I told her that any other time I was not taken seriously. She even commented in my review that that was because she felt I "cried wolf" too many times. Yet the error rates have gotten worse and the policies aren't being followed. Her comment when I mention that to her is:  "I can't do anything if I don't know about it."

Here's what happened and I hope that you don't judge me too harshly. As a trainer in an effort to improve things I didn't let anything slide. I explained things and demonstrated things in order to train. I have a loud voice, but don't cuss and scream in my training. I ask people why they do things the way they do or who showed them how to do that. I was told that was the wrong approach. But I had an expectation that I felt people needed to reach. A staff member complained that I wasn't very nice and I didn't like him. This is something that was discussed a year ago and I changed my approach.

Six months ago everything was fine per my Director in my review. But in my review last week, I was told that the staff complained that I was "grumpy, nit picking, belittling and talking down to people."  I was told by my Director and the COO that this constituted a hostile work environment and that my negative attitude and keeping the pot stirred makes people not want to come to work.

I thought everything was going well, and I had no idea that things were as bad as they were. I knew I wasn't well-liked but not like this. My Director never said a word to me about this until my review last week. I felt I was doing a good job getting training done and improving performance. My Director got most of her information from a peer review. I received a PIP and a demotion into a different position. My Director said that this all came to light two weeks ago and if it would have happened after my review, I wouldn't have been demoted. They said I still had to fix all the communication problems except that I will not be training.

Toni's take

I would first like to quickly address the process by which you found out about your demotion, etc. This is one of the reasons I advocate more frequent reviews (quarterly perhaps) or that a manager should at least have enough awareness of the day-to-day activities of the staff that he or she can make an educated observation without depending solely on what they're told by your peers. Your Director at one point even said, "I can't do anything if I don't know about it." Well, how about peeking your head into a training session? Or doing more frequent canvassing of those in the training classes? At least then she could learn about your issues and work with you incrementally on changing some of the behavior.

Now, as to the issue itself--your demeanor as a trainer. You are not alone in being unaware of how you come across to people. People will interpret the behavior of others in many ways. Sometimes the interpretation is wrong and sometimes it isn't. For example, even though you say you didn't "cuss or scream," there are other ways to come across as belittling or intimidating.

I'm wondering, for example, what purpose was served by asking folks why they were doing something a certain way or who told them to do it that way. What difference would it make who told them? What would you do with that information if you had it? Those types of questions come across as ways to humiliate more than correct.

You mention you knew you weren't well-liked. What indications did you have and why didn't you take steps to address them before? You don't always have to be liked but you should examine the "why's" if only for yourself. If they're disliking you for how you come across and you don't intend it that way, then you can work on it.

As to what you do now, I suggest you take a look at how you work with others. In other words, success at your job has been defined for you via your review. If you want to stay at that company and move forward (actually this holds for any company you might work for), you have to look at your behavior objectively to see what you can do differently. If you can take it, you might try talking to one of the people who finds you belittling and get specifics. It won't be a pleasant conversation, but it may be the only way to see what's going on.

Maybe training is not where you need to be. Maybe you should be writing documentation or tech books and articles. (It's like the doctor who chooses to work in research because she doesn't have good people skills.) Either way, it's a good time to look at what you really want to do.

About

Toni Bowers is Managing Editor of TechRepublic and is the award-winning blogger of the Career Management blog. She has edited newsletters, books, and web sites pertaining to software, IT career, and IT management issues.

75 comments
loppnisimadona
loppnisimadona

Such a nice topic,i read this artilce and agree with this artilce.Thanks to talking us about this artilce. lovefilm uk

mandai75
mandai75

The best way is the trainer, need to move out from the company and find a new place. Sometime it is not worth to put our effort in the place where people do not like us.So just move on...

jpyner
jpyner

I dunno, some peoeple just over-react to criticism of any kind. It's the new world we live in. People just need to suck it up and get going.

dkritype4u
dkritype4u

As someone from the other side - a PEBKAC user - as I.T. people like to call us (i.e., Problem Exist Between Keyboard and Chair). I can relate from the user's perspective how some IT people can (and do) come across as condescending in their approach. Some even display a "system-God" complex (I giveth and I can taketh away) when communicating with users and belittling us because we don't know their terminology (or their system). However, in today?s computer-literate society, it?s not uncommon to come across PEBKAC?s who are technologically savvy (?who showed you how to do that?). Nevertheless, when your company policy dictates that a user MUST submit a ticket for any action that will change the schema of their system (i.e., requires administrative approval), then our hands are tied and we MUST contact our IT department for service. Look, I get it from both sides, both of my children are system professionals and I am a software professional; a PEBKAC ? if you will. We often have heated discussions regarding IT?s behavior towards users (yes it is a little raw ? they stop short of calling me ?idiot?) and our behavior towards IT professionals (often called ?useless support? who will ghost anything to keep from fixing the problem). But as users and professionals, that?s just how it is and we will always agree to disagree on any issue. However, in regards to this inquiry, if the majority (or all) of the users felt belittled, and the professional has acknowledge a problem with communication in the past, then it probably should not have come as a surprise that he was reprimanded; especially if HE alone was the ONE who determined that his behavior had improved. Now should he have been demoted ? probably not, but we don?t know the PEBKAC side of the story.

docpro
docpro

What happened to best practice, being the best in your job, openness to criticism and new ideas? All companies should promote these, not immature complacency.

john barker
john barker

i have no idea what happen i would have to know both people all i have ia blog so i cant say anything about what happen john barker

larry.herzlich
larry.herzlich

One thing I learned about peer reviews is that the manager should not react to 1 person's comments. But, if they are basically corroborated by multiple persons, then that's important to convey. Even if it is not 100% true, it is a perception that must be addressed. The good thing about conveying this information is that this takes the "blame" off of the manager so the employee and manager can work to fix things - together!

mgrs_must_go
mgrs_must_go

In dealing with users, do whatever it takes: take a break, talk to understanding people outside the office (not co-workers- they might squeal), come down with a fake illness, whatever but never outwardly show that the user is giving you a hard time. It always gets back to your performance evaluation!

Thumper1
Thumper1

It is extremely difficult for some people, especially techs, to perceive how they come across to other people. I have worked with a lot of very bright, very knowledgeable techs who were virtually unemployable simply because, for all of their smarts, they couldn?t understand that along with their talents, they were also selling themselves. People can forget and forgive a lot of things. They will always remember how you make them feel. Talk down to them, make them feel stupid you have an enemy for life. The really bad thing here is; it makes no difference whether or not you actually did it. The issue is how they perceive what you are trying to do. As far as advice goes, you have only one course of action; Change your technique. You have to either modify your attitude or find another field. Thirteen years working as (actually surviving as) the IT director, trainer and troubleshooter in a Law office (Aka "Mine Field") has given me a degree from the "University of Hard Knocks." About the time I think I have seen it all, I am astounded to see something else.

TheProfessorDan
TheProfessorDan

To be totally honest, we don't have enough information to really make a real judgement. My only thought on the matter is that the writer was consistantly being told about their attitude and it appears didn't do much to improve it but we only heard one side of the story. The other thought that I took from this was how underrated people skills are in this field or really in any field. The ability to coexist and be productive with a variety of personality types is really a skill that takes some work and some maturity. I've had to learn it over the years and I have made my share of mistakes that hopefully I have learned from. What the writer of this letter needs to do is to take a step back and look themselves in the mirror and try and assess what they could have done differently. Because the only person that you can control normally is yourself.

mavetmavet
mavetmavet

Oh boo hoo, how about stop whining like a baby and change your attitude. Obviously you either need to stop and start being nice or maybe take an organizational leadership course its part of the Masters program. But if you're a nasty person to people, you deserve what you received.

msandler
msandler

A lot of great responses here. I have been in this position of having to be the trainer - to new employees, explaining "this is how we do it at OUR company"; and then - in a sideways manner being the "enforcer" of said policies. It was not in my job description, but when staff members were not completing tasks up to management standards, those managers contacted me. When I got involved with more and more policy making projects, those same staff members where commenting along the lines of "you're just the trainer, you're not the boss of me". There seems to be a fine line here between the trainer's expectations and management's expectations. It sounds like the writer has taken on more responsibility than requested - certainly with the best of intentions but maybe not as a result of being ASKED. We do not have enough detail to know. It is most frustrating to be a trainer, assess a blatant need for more learning but not be able to do a darn thing about it. If all they wanted you to do was train, you should have left the QA to someone else. When eyes were finally opened to the drop in production (or what ever) THEN it would become a training issue. Training really is the red-headed stepchild on the totum pole of most corporations.

viper
viper

I feel from what you said that your training attitude appeared to be aimed at impressing them with your knowledge and not stressing your willingness to be patient. Also letting them know they could ask you anytime if they had a query, or did not understand what you are saying. If one speaks in a loud voice it may come over as overbearing and arrogant. Also a lot of people feel intimidated and 'spoken down' to, like treating them like children. To question them over past training issues was not their problem but yours, so as to find out and help rectify why their supervisors felt they did not perform as well as expected. Also, any issues you reported to your supervisor should always be reported in a written way so you can verify and clearly clarify your points. You can ask to have your feedback written not orally. The first rule of training I was taught was a, tell them what you are going to do. b, Do it. c, Clarify what you did and said. Ask for feedback and explain that you are only to happy for them to ask about any issues they may have and thank them for their time and attention. You could also ask them if they have difficulties in any area. After all, this is what training is all about. And being patient. Not everyone is a genius and everyone deserves the same quality of training.

rhodamyster
rhodamyster

Concerning...... asking people why they do things the way they do or who showed them how to do that...... I understand why this is asked. Maybe somebody else in the company showed that person how to do things the wrong way. By asking - "why they do things that way" - maybe you can go to that person & also train them the correct way. Once people start doing things a certain way (right or wrong) - it's awful hard to get them to change. And if it has worked for them thus far - you're not going to get them to change. I have found that the boss is usually the one who is doing things the wrong way. She is always saying.... "Teach me." When things get too complicated she says.. She doesn't have time to learn & keeps doing things her way or has someone else do it for her.

marjorie
marjorie

This problem will continue until the "boss" establishes better on-going communication with her trainer ("I discussed with her that the only time that she treated me as a trainer was when I was in trouble about something, I told her that any other time I was not taken seriously"). The trainer is the trainer, the boss establishes and enforces policy. I am an employer and company owner and there is no doubt who I would have fired.

LadyDiTech
LadyDiTech

Sometimes the best direction to take is not to wait too long to take action on a problem. You may have to take the initiative to be proactive rather than wait on management to resolve an issue that has progressed to a point of being impossible to correct. From my own experience that I would like to share, early in my IT career I could not understand why some of my coworkers did not want to associate with me. I was a hard worker, eager to learn and had no trouble getting upward mobility promotions when new jobs became available. Fortunately an opportunity presented itself when I volunteered to work a holiday night shift. One of the other coworkers that also agreed to work that night was one of those who did not like me. There was very little workload that night so to break the ice I started to chat. At first she was not responsive and I finally decided to ask her to tell me honestly what it was about me that the others had issues with. What I heard was surprising since I did not see myself in that light. I was told I was a brown-noser; I bossed others to work on tasks when it was not my position to do so and some believed that I was having an affair with the boss. After thinking about what I just heard, I could understand how they would perceive me in that light. I was guilty of telling co-workers to complete unfinished work when it really was not my area of responsibility to do so. I decided right then that was something I could change about myself since managing the workload of employees was the supervisor's job and that I should concentrate on my own tasks. The other assumption about the brown nosing was not correct and I explained why I felt I got those promotions over the others who did not get the job. Our office managed four mainframe systems (IBM, Tandem, Unisys and Burroughs) and it was not uncommon for one or more of these systems to go down. When the mainframe systems went down those same employees decided to take their 15 minute break and would leave the area. It was not required that I stay since these situations were handled by the lead operators and the supervisor, but a few others including myself would stick around to watch, participate to determine the reason for the malfunction and to bring the mainframe systems back up. I saw this as an opportunity to learn how to handle a crisis and to have these skills to handle future situations on my own or with little supervision. I was also shocked to think that some of the coworkers would regard my constant interactions with the supervisor as something more than a working relationship. Of course one cannot eliminate office gossip, but I told her that my working relationship with my supervisor was professional and that was all that it was. I would say I was successful in our open communications that evening. I made some changes to my relationship with the other coworkers by working with them to help them get tasks done rather than telling them what to do. I also had a better relationship with that coworker that worked that holiday shift with me. Even though we no longer work for the same organization we have kept in touch over the past 20 years.

CoachRick
CoachRick

I agree with Toni especially when she said, "You mention you knew you weren?t well-liked. What indications did you have and why didn?t you take steps to address them before?". The feedback was there, but the person to whom it was directed chose to ignore it. The post read, "I felt I was doing a good job getting training done and improving performance." In light of the other comment, I am curious to what evidence there was that this was happening and could that evidence be substantiated. From everything I read here, this person appears to have control issues. As a coach, I see this behavior in nearly every client with whom I work that feels the need to control everything in order to get the results THEY want. It takes a partnership to create something, be it a well trained organization or an effectively implemented project. I do not get that this person was working in partnership. As to what to do next? I suggest getting a coach to work on communication skills, perhaps EQ as well as how to engage others into a partnership for success.

CoderWPF
CoderWPF

All these trainer experts who can't (cant) spell. You're (your) welcome.

gneuls
gneuls

As a programmer with 13 years experience in helping users with system changes and training the tools I have found most effective were those I developed when I joined a local Toast Masters club. Toast Masters International really helps in many areas of presentation and leadership including constructive evaluation of others. Many trainers that I have talked to after they participated with Toast Masters found a vast improvement in the reaction of those getting the training. I agree with Toni that you would benefit from honest communication where you just sit and listen without reacting to those that have found your approach to be abrasive.

SmartyParts
SmartyParts

Honestly, its my opinion that they are just documenting activities so that when they fire this gentleman there will be a paper trail. The odds he'll be employed there a year from now are very low I fear. They don't seem to mind a little agressive training in the military or even one of those crab fishing boats we see on TV. Perhaps its time to look at a career shift?

Niunio
Niunio

I am in Canada for over twenty years now and I am still turning my head around about the approach to duties. Yes. This whole article is a note that it is OK not to follow instructions despite the trainer?s approach to training. Toni, my take is this: You are given task to do. I leave the instructions how to do the task on your desk. You do not follow instructions for whatever reason and in whatever way. I am penalized because you said that instructions weren?t given to you hand to hand but left rudely on your desk without a word. (Here comes the national debate on what is appropriate and what is not). One little thing is forgotten here. What is it? Common sense. You should listen to 570news.com. I love this radio station. Common sense is a phrase forbidden to use because of situations like that. That?s Wes?s take on it.

lmarks
lmarks

Toni, "Why do you do it that way?" and "Who showed you how to do it this way?" are legitimate questions for an individual charged with (and appraised for) reducing errors and enforcing process. If some other senior "mentor" is teaching junior staff illegitimate "shortcuts", this trainer needs to find out who it is and stop it at the source. It would be difficult for me to remain at a company so hypocritical that it insists on process and reduced error rates but won't support the trainer charged with carrying that out. I'm in the fortunate position that I could retire whenever I choose to. I would challenge my director by asking which one he wants: happy people or process-compliant people.

promotions1
promotions1

I don't envy trainers who find performance problems in the work place and feel that they tried to fix them and then feel that they are punished for their work. I am now retired and was a career trainer. There was so much deja vue in what I read and includes how the business collects information about performance problems and then what it does about it - at all levels. It seems that there were system wide performance problems. It seems there were supervision issues. It seems there were policy issues on handling persons who had perfomance challenges. Getting demoted without cause is in Canada is call "constructive dismissal" and is illegal. A process is expected if there is cause. This includes appropriate warnings with clear consequences. So was there cause? Sounds like there might have been because this person seemed to have been told things and said he/she adjusted. He/she thought the adjustments were sufficient. It seems that the employer thought otherwise. Was the person warned that there would be consequences for not improving thier behaviour? Doesn't seem like it based on what was reported. Does the employer have an appropriate process for managing the situation? Doesn't seem like it. It seems like there might be a poisoned atmosphere. It might be that our "victim" has been very frustrated and his/her frustration has come out in the way the person dealt with fellow employees. Employers should get their act together - they won't. Sorry been there done that. I think it is rare to see the "ideal" so it is as Toni suggests: is this the right place for our "victim"? is training the right job? (Training is often exceptionally rewarding and often exceptionally frustrating - don't like it? don't do it!) From someone who was a trainer for more than 30 years and was constructivly dismissed from an employer and won a lawsuit against the employer (won is relative - the lawyers win).

rainmaker_68
rainmaker_68

very nice article. And well said Toni keep up the good work.

lhadley
lhadley

I agree with most that we always need to evaluate how our own behaviors may have played a part in the situation. At the same time, how long had this been going on? Did the director base the demotion solely on one peer review? In my mind you are not the only person that needs to evaluate themselves and their responsibility. Also, is this the first time that you have trained? If not, how were the other training reviewed. Was the environment different? It just seems odd that this one situation caused a demotion. A good manager always looks deeper and attempt to help before disciplining.

gsspeak
gsspeak

Asking question about how a user currently completes a task is not demeaning, in fact it can form part of any ISO standards audit. I am the IT and procedures trainer for my company, but I am also the ISO Auditor so it is part of my job to check on the current procedure for a task, find out if this method is effective / correct etc and if not set about implementing the changes to correct the procedure and then retrain the correspond department(s) to the amended procedure ( or retrain personel if they are not following the procedure). It the approved material is fed from the top down and has been correctly scrutinised, then that is how the legislation and Board of Directors wants to operate that procedure.. finding out if people are being trained to the contrary is important. However directly asking that question in front of a group is not (in my opinion) the best way to gain that information. This may also be a case of its not what you said but the way you said it, that people found abraisive. Body language of both you and your audience speak volumes louder than the material. (Improving your body language skills can work wonders) Also I recommend sitting on sessions run by the trainers that are classed as "excellent" by your company..observe how they operate and train the material out... I have had this done several times and done it myself... you must remember to save your comments / questions until after the class has gone as you are there only as an observer. Further this could be (like someone has already mentioned), an attempt to get you out of your post because they want your job. you may have been promoted ahead of them and they didn't like it. It does however seem that you are not in a supportive environment, you may well be better off looking for another post.

pkomorowski
pkomorowski

It sounds like the the trainer took on more of a manager/supervisor role and perhaps was never given that authority. It sucks that you have an employee who (from that person's explanation alone) tries to improve the employees but gets demoted. I'm a CEO and I regretably must admit that at times I can see how others could see me belittling employees. I have a lot on my plate, and want results. If you can't follow basic procedures then perhaps you need to find another job. And I usually am blunt and to the point. It is an acceptable trait for a manager? Perhaps. For a trainer? Definitely not.

jchiodo
jchiodo

I think you believe in double standards. The point of asking where a person got his or her information is not to discern where they got it. It IS to help the person determine whether or not they made it up in their own heads or if they really did hear it from someone else. And if they made it up, they can unmake it just as easily with your help ( as a trainer ) That's the reason for exploring more deeply. You don't see this but you say this person should do more exploring of their own demeanor. Why here and not with other people? I'm a average joe,,,I try not to look down at people, and I see no reason why that first approach would not work. People ( me included ) sometimes can't see past their own noses.

cadman53114
cadman53114

This obviously a company that does not promote "open" policies to question procedures, how they are being followed, and utilize that feedback to apply to corrective action. I am working on a government project that ANYONE can call a work stoppage because they see procedure not being followed, unsafe, or in appropriate work practices. The project involves building construction and craft workers, administrative, technical, skilled crafts, etc. An IT person can be passing by the construction site and see an unsafe procedure and IMMEDIATELY call a "time out" and STOP all work until a supervisor or someone of authority comes to address the problem and correct the issue. I stopped work once because a worker in a hard hat area had taken his hard hat off. It was hot, he was sweaty, and his hard hat was sliding around on his bald head. I am bald so I knew where he was coming from. But procedure and safety protocols are in place for a reason. The worker was provided with a better fitting hard hat and work continued. I am a design engineer, I was not working on the construction site. I was on my way to a training class. The question why someone does something and who told them is an important question when it comes to following procedure. If the procedure is incorrect, then instead of not following the procedure, the person should correct it. I do it everyday. Question, review, document, implement. Anyone reading this probably thinks "oh government procedures" big deal. Well, if we did not follow them, the health, safety, and defense of this country would be at risk. The basic freedoms we now enjoy come from following procedure and if they procedure is incorrect, or does not allow for operations to flow smoothly, it is changed. Our freedom to question those in authority and enact change is what this country is based on. This persons boss who said she can't fix it if she does not know... I am sure she has been told what is wrong by more people than just this one person. She obviously would not change anything if it threaten her authority. So perhaps the problem is not the procedure, but the up level management that feels it must "protect" these procedures from change as if it were their own child. This person still needs to change their attitude. A hostile work environment cannot be tolerated. But perhaps the trainer is not the only one who should have been demoted.

ndveitch
ndveitch

I would have to say after reading this article, the best piece of advice I would offer is, cut your losses and look for a new job. The fact that the Director knew about something 2 weeks prior and did nothing to let the employee know, I would immediately suspect that there is someone in the class who is in with the Director but does not like the Trainer. I have seen it to many times before in the various companies I have worked for. There is an employee who either has dirt on the director or is very 'close' to the director and they use that for their own gain. I would not be surprised if it comes out that someone in the class was a complete idiot but the trainer didn't realize that this employee was 'close' to the director. Then the employee runs to the director with some garbage story and the director not wanting to lose favor with that employee, takes what they say at face value and does not question it. I have seen this type of backstabbing before by employees who believe they are better than they really are. In the one company I used to look after it was so bad that all the staff ended up leaving and I believe the company ended up closing. Anyway it is a bad situation to be in, but do your best to learn from the experience and move on.

ROYMS
ROYMS

This Training role seems to closely interact with other roles in the organisation such as whoever sets the company operating procedures and how those get evaluated. There is also the question of exactly what Course that is being taught. Who wrote that course and is it uptodate? Is it too technical or in other ways controversial? Managers can sometimes not see the Integration between training and other activities in the Organisation and might just see one criticism (e.g. from a new manager?) as sufficient for a change.

abdul.lateef.03
abdul.lateef.03

If you can't beat them; be with them! Speak the language that they understand. Very soon the things will change.

rdgrindle
rdgrindle

I see a demotion as a special sort of criticism. This is how I deal with it: Criticism can be split into two parts, the emotional side and the informational side. The emotional side is jurt hurt, I get over it as fast as I can. The informational side is like pile of rocks with some jewels of experience hidden underneath. I dig through the pile of rocks to find the things to be learned and move on. I once was a victim of scape-goating. I lost my job, it was a big tragedy for me and my family. But now I know what it looks like, I can tell the signs and now I know when it's time to run and look for cover. Experience is the essence of all the failure you were involved in. My advice: pick up the pieces, learn from it and move on. The grounds are spoild, it's no use to try to remedy the situation. Get another job, at another company. And don't let it happen to you again. RG

djbillyd
djbillyd

Everybody is not a teacher. It takes a "certain" personality trait, plus training. I have been known, by some, to be arrogant and condescending, for example. I just thought it was being intolerant of foolishness! And in many ways, I was right. I also had to take a look at my personality, too. I AM arrogant, and I CAN be condescending. Those are my flaws, just like the people this person was trying to teach. Everybody CAN get it; but not everybody DOES get it, the exact same way.

dfalir
dfalir

I'll tell you a story. I am an ICT / Project Manager for a Greek Manufacturing Company, employed to address ICT issues and implement an ERP and an MRP solution. Those who have worked in similar environment, will much probably agree that the employees of such companies have nothing to do with IT culture. The problems were endless, adding the lack of support of the company's management. Sometimes i was so provoked by other departmental directors for the changes "I" wanted to impose, that we often were close to start beating each other, if i wasn't carefull. If it came to that, who would the management believe in case things got out of control? The sales director beeing employeed over 6 years bringing profit 80% of 30.000.000 euros, or the new 30 year old IT manager? What was someone to do in this kind of situation? Wisely said, not all people like you, not all people get what you want to say and why you have the reason for asking a question (although i strongly believe that asking who taught you that, is wrong, makes no sense whatsoever, and is humiliating). I couldn't see what i was doing wrong!!! These people are "idiots". But will this change? no! So what can you (I) do to achieve your goals? If you want a change to happen, you should question what is "wrong" with you. YOU must adapt in the situation. YOU must adapt with your audience, not the audience (your trainees) with you! In your case the thing that I believe that went "wrong" is that you didn't "hear" your environment, insisting in your mind you did eerything right. Change this. If more than one or two people say something about your attitude, much probably there is basis for them to say this. Take the book, "Pulling your own strings" by Wayne Dyer. It has boosted my attitude towards these kind of situations 100%. Please dont take it as an advertisement. I am just trying to give an advice. And sometimes advices come through books... I understant your Situation. the facts of your story is that you do have a problem, and judging by the development of your career. However, everything that is done can be undone, and especially for your situation. It was very accurately stated The problems is that whatever change you wish to make about your job, your attitude and your life in general, you must seek the change in yourself. Even if people

matthewd
matthewd

Do you have any video recordings of your training? If so, review of them by others may give you an objective analysis. Could be you are ineffective at training, or somebody is out to push you out for other reasons.

hmx
hmx

if you and your boss are doing your jobs correctly then there should be no surprises in your review. the fact that you were caught unaware clearly flies in the face of this. i'd call shenanigans on this ... that your boss is acting citing information received two weeks ago (and this is the first time you're hearing of it) makes me wonder what else is going on here ...

kjohnson
kjohnson

Different people have different expectations of training and trainers. Therefore, in a class of eight or ten students, there's often one who doesn't enjoy the course, wants it done differently, or wants to be somewhere else. Therefore, try not to be upset by a particular bad evaluation, provided there's only one or two of them. If the evaluation is signed, you know who wrote it, so ask your manager to contact that student and discuss what he (she) didn't like about the course. You might get some valuable information that way.

usmcdjb
usmcdjb

Wasn't a trainer. But had a challenging relationship with my Director, who was tight with the COO. I was viewed as the problem. I finally realized I needed to 'conform' a little while I planned an exit. I left that position to be a Director. And I seem to be doing well. The dynamics of relationships can certainly play into this more than what the position is. My advice - smile and become liked. Do what is expected. And if you are not happy, then find another opportunity.

kels83
kels83

I completely agree that there are control issues here. I appreciate the focus on performance and avoiding errors, but IMHO a trainer would share very little responsibility. We have a person like this in my office... always telling people how they are making mistakes when she hasn't done the work in almost a decade. I suggest a change in mindset to be a "team player". Things will not be perfect, but no matter the outcome you have to be able to adapt in a POSITIVE way. People just don't like to work with a complainer. I suggest reading up on Neuro Linguistic Programming (NLP) such as "Intorducing NLP: Psychological Skills for Understanding and Influencing People" by Joseph O'Conner. This is where the rubber meets the road in terms of communicating emotions and positive energy.

rainmaker_68
rainmaker_68

Very nice article. Well said Toni keep up the good reviews.

info
info

Like djbillyd, Others have told me I sometimes come across as arrogant and condescending. Unlike him, I'm not. However, I've identified this as my habit of breaking things down into their simplest terms so they are easy to understand. If someone has their back up already, this comes across as being treated like a child. I also try to teach using illustrations. Some make fun of this, although it works. So I try to not lean on both methods as much. Another thing is your idea of 'right'. People find me annoying because I tend to be right about things most of the time. This actually causes them to fight against it! A good friend of mine came up with a good phrase for it. "It's not that we're always right. It's that we're always CORRECT. The two are not always the same thing." At the end of the day, the advice to observe your environment for a time and adapt to it if you want to stay, and "don't rock the boat" are the two most important things you can learn. For example, government/academia/etc. are mostly bureaucratic institutions that thrive on red tape and policies/procedures being followed 'to the letter'. Most SMBs are more akin to High School in it being a popularity contest. The above comment about 'right' and 'correct' applies here. What is 'right' is usually what the majority think, no matter how 'incorrect' it may be. And no, there may not be anyone 'out to get you', although this happens more than I'd like to see. A lot of managers simply don't have time to be constantly babysitting employees and, for a portion of those, they're busy mis-managing. Are you going to fight against them all? There's a LOT of them... I'm not a brown-noser, but if you like where you work and don't want to go looking for another job, pick your battles carefully. Try to conform to management's wishes and the status-quo, while GENTLY asking questions and making suggestions to prod things more the way you want them to go. It takes time, but patience is worth it. As an interesting aside, the other day the owner of our company was giving a tour to an outside VIP. My office is in a LOT of mess right now because of tons of hardware being dumped on my lap, and he commented that I was the only one in the company that was a big slob. I wasn't quick enough to see his humour since he was the owner, although he said it with a laugh, but the VIP piped up, "At least you like him. At our company, we all think IT is the enemy." Interesting notion that it would be nice to try to change...

armitsteadt
armitsteadt

I sympathise greatly, but you have to realise that IT trainers are a rare breed. First they have to be teachers, and first thing a teacher has to be is enthusiastic about what they teach. Secondly, virtually everyone involved in IT is there because they like IT, ie the machines, the software, the database structures, the network administration and yes, all the related procedures to make it work correctly. It's not a naturally human activity. So a teacher in this field really has to bend over backwards to be successful. Anyting less and people will regard your courses as they ones they have to attend and get out of as quickly as possible. I think you need to need to attend one day personal development seminar - not only are they good for giving you a personal boost, but also ideas of communicating in a way that people want to hear. As for the management, as an ex-trainer myself I can promise you that if your sessions are fun and really buzzing you won't have to worry anbout the maangement - they will look in themselves to see what's going on. All the best Tom Armitstead

C_Tharp
C_Tharp

I have been blind-sided in a review by "an unhappy customer" even though no argurments or disputes had ever occurred. That review was strongly on my mind when I decided to change jobs. Later that review appeared in another job interview. I suddenly realized that I had missed an opportunity in that review. If you feel like the review presents a one sided picture or is unfair, ask that your own response be added to the review. Explain why the comments in the review are in error or off base. This will not change the review, but it may mitigate the message should it appear in your future. Sometimes you get surprised. You must deal with the situation as best you can, learn from it, and move on.

coldbrew
coldbrew

I totally agree above. I have been pulled aside and it is noed in helast 2 yearly reviews "that I don't play well with others." To a degree, that is true. I get along with peo0ple who know their job, try to implement it, and who take their work seriously. Unfortunately, I don't work with them. It has been an adjustment and I have had to leave things alone and let them eventually come out. The guilty parties are starting to be under the microscope and I get a little praise for "not complainng and being the start." It is political but you just play the game as best you can. Our trainer does a really good job with people, unfortunately the people pickins is slim so you get what you get.

Kevj
Kevj

I agree. You must constantly review what you have done and try to improve for the next iteration. Every time I solve a problem or try to enact change, I always review mentally what I could have done better to either improve the results, or complete the process quicker. I have found there is always a better way to diagnose problems, affect organizational change, train, or persuade others.

dfeller
dfeller

Yes, there should not be surprises at the review, but we do not have the supervisors viewpoint here. There is enough information here from the employee to indicate he/she was aware of the performance issues. Sometimes it takes a demotion for the employee to take the issues seriously and make some changes. This is a behavioral issue, and this type of issue is extremely difficult to change. This supervisor did the right thing.

DPeek
DPeek

It seems to me that the first few replies to this topic came from the same person catching the demotion! Generally speaking you dont have to be liked everywhere by everyone. That much I'll give you, but a disagreeable TRAINER is just asking for trouble! I've often heard in IT that its far easier and better to train someone that everyone can work with into a role, than to find someone undoubtedly qualified for the role, yet the team cant stand to work with. Im not suggesting conformity and intolerance be the order of the day, where people who dont fit in lock-step are shown the door, but at the same time that cuts both ways. Someone so blind to the revulsion they create in others that they dont understand the depths of it... probably should NOT be in a role that requires dealing with people all day. I think thats just common sense.

dgorjup
dgorjup

I was an on-the-road and formal classroom cad/cam trainer for many years. One of the most important classes I ever took related to being a trainer was "Transactional Analysis". In a nutshell it taught two things: 1)How to get outside of yourself during human interactions to see how a group is interacting from a "third party" perspective. 2)How to recognize the emotional state of the parties during the interaction. Effectively, TA taught that there are 3 possible emotional states: Parent Adult Child As a (class/presentation/whatever) leader one must be able to recognize the states and be prepared to alter them as necessary. From your first paragraph above it sounds like you're coming across as the "parent", which automatically forces the respondent to a "child" state. Your goal, as a trainer/leader, then becomes an effort to bring the equilibrium to an "adult/adult" state; ie, get out of the parent role which then allows the other to get out of the child role. You are the authority figure as a trainer so it is up to you to set the tone. This also helps to bring a rowdy class back into line when things get a little fast and loose, which is often a welcome break from straight and narrow training. The key is to be able to recognize when to allow these things, and when to reel them back in. TA and the awareness/control it brings brought me many, many kudos (written and verbal) during my training career.

Arcturus909
Arcturus909

How can this be? I thought you folks down south were having some sort of economic situation with loads of people getting laid off? Surely some of the good ones need hiring?

myepals
myepals

It is more difficult to pay attention and remember things when the foremost thing on your mind is how unhappy you are at the moment.

dnevill1
dnevill1

A trainer is someone who can motivate change in someone else. If you don't have the interpersonal skills to motivate, then you are in the wrong position. I've known plenty of book smart uber geeks who could walk circles around engineers, but could'nt look the cashier in the eye at a grocery store and say "plastic please". They were hard to communicate with on any level other than tech, and it made other people uncomfortable or just uninterested in working with them. A trainer needs compassion, charisma, and confidence. You need to inspire people to do things your way (or the company way).

evanmathias
evanmathias

Its never easy to know who is right. QA is vital, and that drive can pay real dividends that the individual being taught will later realise, even if they don't see it now. Equally a trainer should not be taking things to a personel level. In my opinion this is lack of protocol, which ironically boils down to QA. If your in the right, then these things go in cycles, stay on top and just do your best to learn from it... if your in the wrong, then learn to promote yourself better, be more patient and protect yourself by getting feedback or review. Again part of QA and continual improvement.

kels83
kels83

The Parent/Adult/Child technique is a take on Carl Jung, famous psychologist. I've found it VERY helpful in working with those that are much older or younger than myself. I've also found it helpful dealing with my wife and family. The previous post also reminded me of a couple quotes on similar topics that have been very helpful to me while working in politics (IT projects with the state of TX): "It is the recipient who communicates. The so-called communicator, the person who emits the communication, does not communicate. he utters. Unless there is someone who hears, there is no communication. There is only noise." by Peter Drucker Socrates also points out in Plato's Phaedo that one has to talk to people in term of their own experience: "... use carpenters' metaphors when talking to carpenters". (If you can't already tell, nice post dgorjup, I agree and think it is very pertinant!)

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