Challenges of the Spanish Speaking Supervisors

When Spanish speaking team members become supervisors, they suddenly face unfamiliar leadership challenges. Before the promotion to supervisor, their job responsibilities were fairly straightforward, routine and predictable. As team members, they naturally formed a bond of friendship with their coworkers. They viewed each other as equals. But now as team leaders, the buddy relationship they had is more often an obstacle than a help.

Now, 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 having attended leadership workshops. Without this knowledge, Spanish speaking supervisors tend to 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 becomes very difficult for the new 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 deal with the various difficult personalities. Instead, they may try to exert their authority by intimidation tactics and aggressive behaviors. They may try to 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.