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Background

My employer requires that I take training which is offered to all employees by Company-X at no cost to my employer. This training is essentially a circuit of courses that are offered at various times of the year. Once these courses are completed I am considered qualified in my specialty.

As classes scheduled for 2020 were shut down due to COVID, I was only able to complete a few online courses which were self-led classes.

There is a common consensus among my coworkers who are training me (my manager included) that being immersed in the training (courses that last longer than a week) is the best method to learn the skills I need to perform my job.

There is another Company (Company Y) that is offering a comprehensive training which will run several consecutive weeks that is of equal or higher caliber compared to what Company X is offering for free. This training will qualify me completely once finished. That being said, the training that Company Y is offering is somewhat expensive.

Problem

My manager approached me and asked me if I would be interested in taking the comprehensive training with Company Y. I indicated that I would like to enroll. They instructed me to do so.

As I was working on enrolling in this training a manager from a different group (not my manager) discovered that I was going to enroll in the training with Company Y and tried to convince me to not take the course for various reasons (e.g. that since Company X offers courses for free that it’s a waste of money for me to take the course offered by Company Y, etc.).

I communicated all this to my direct manager and they indicated that I should still sign up for the comprehensive training because they feel there is a large value in me taking the course offered by Company Y.

Question

As I am going to enroll in the course that my direct manager wants me to take, how should I handle the other manager when they inevitably approach me to ask why I took the course (i.e. Why am wasting my employers money, time, etc.)?

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    Your manager is encouraging you to pursue an opportunity to advance your career and provide increased value to the company. This other manager is undermining a colleague and putting someone with less power into a difficult position for reasons that are barely their concern at best. How to deal with the latter is a tough call, but whatever you do should keep the contrast between these two in mind. E.g. if the concern is that you might end up reporting to this other manager in the future, consider whether you would ever want that for yourself.
    – jiheison
    Jun 9 '21 at 5:20
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    Tell the other manager to go and pound sand. It's none of their business and trying to interfere (unasked) with someone from another team is actually inappropriate. If I were your manager I would give the other one a good talking to.
    – Hilmar
    Jun 9 '21 at 13:55
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This is not your problem. If asked, you can thank them for their advice, but state that your manager has confirmed that you should take the Company Y training. If they're still unhappy for some reason, direct them to your manager. That said, unless the training cost comes out of the other manager's budget or something, it's unlikely that they will care very much.

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    Even if it does come out of his budget, they should fix it amongst themselves, not involve the little guy in their domestic quarrel.
    – BoboDarph
    Jun 10 '21 at 7:01
  • The answer could be improved without stating the "what ifs". It is completely irrelevant what the real problem is. Whatever it is, it's really not OP's problem. Any manager that's not your manager should be speaking to your manager, not you, especially on things that directly contradicts what your manager wants.
    – Nelson
    Jun 10 '21 at 8:24
  • @Nelson The OP's problem is not the training budget, but the nosy manager, hence my advice on how to handle them. Jun 10 '21 at 8:36
  • The mention of the "unless" reads like superfluous noise. It can be made more generic and useful such as "Whatever the other manager's problem is, they need to talk directly to your manager, not you."
    – Nelson
    Jun 10 '21 at 8:39
  • @Nelson I'm answering the OP's specific question, not a generic one. Lucky for you, I have an ironclad satisfaction guarantee: if you're not happy with my answer to somebody else's question, you can get back all the money you paid for it! Jun 10 '21 at 8:49
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Already a good answer. My addition is not to take this at face value. It's beyond their role for this other manager to do this, so they have an agenda. Most likely it's to do with budget, you'll be setting a precedent which his/her team may want to emulate so the manager might follow up.

Don't get involved, politely direct all enquiries to your manager to handle.

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The other group's manager is completely out of line

Your training regimen is none of their business, and their entire comment smacks of jealousy. It is possible that they have mismanaged their own group’s budget or scheduling, and as a result, you completing the training will reflect badly on that other group, which was unable to organize itself.

That said, you must be professional in your dealings

If they attempt to dissuade you again: smile, nod and say you'll note that down. Immediately return again to your own manager and inform them. Your manager will recognize this power struggle for what it is and then you should hear much less frequently from the other group's manager.

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"Thank you for taking an interest in furthering my career and growth. However, my direct superior thinks CompY's training will benefit me, and thus the company, better, and has already appropriated the funds from our team's budget and has instructed me to enroll in that training."

Any further "fishing attempts" by the other manager should get this same response (worded in the context of the question, but always coming back to the fact CompY's training is superior, endorsed by your direct manager, and already approved and budgeted for).

And let your direct manager know about the other manager's meddling as soon as they happen.
I don't know what his angle is, but poking your nose into someone else's issues once is impolite, twice (or more) is something that needs to be taken care of by someone with authority!

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