Challenges of the Spanish Speaking Supervisors

Most Spanish speaking supervisors have been promoted because of their extensive, hands-on, job experience, and a strong work ethic. As team members, they naturally formed a bond of friendship with their coworkers. They viewed each other as equals. Now as team leaders, the buddy relationship is often more of an obstacle rather than a help.

In their role as supervisors, they are tasked with leadership responsibilities they’ve never had to consider, such as conducting production meetings, providing instructions and disciplining challenging team members when necessary. Unfortunately, the majority of Spanish speaking supervisors step into their new roles without an adequate understanding of leadership skills or even attending leadership workshops. Without this knowledge, Spanish speaking supervisors deal with workplace issues and personalities by gut reactions rather than by process-based responses.

And that’s not all. The alliances that existed before their promotion while they were team members don’t die so quickly. This is one of the reasons why the problem of favoritism is so persistent and demoralizing. As if that were not enough, some are not willing to accept the fact that one of their former team members has left the gang and gone on to greater heights. It’s incredibly difficult for the supervisors to deal with jealous and angry employees who express their resistance by applying minimum effort to their everyday tasks.

Without the adequate leadership skills, the supervisors are ill-equipped to handle the numerous production problems and difficult personalities. Instead, they tend to lead by intimidation tactics and aggressive behaviors. They command and control and unwittingly create a culture of fear and disrespect.

Much of the workplace damage concerning stress, lack of communication skills and countless visits to the Human Resources staff by upset employees can be significantly reduced if not prevented. It makes good business sense to prepare the new supervisors for success by providing them with the necessary skills and leadership tools that will teach them to motivate their team members, build trust and encourage a culture of open communications.