Most Spanish-speaking supervisors have not had a great deal of leadership training. They usually arrive at their roles as leaders because of their lengthy experience and superior job knowledge. Their “people skills” are usually in the developmental stage.

And with good reason: How can you expect anyone to apply competent leadership decisions when he or she has never been exposed to a learning system of process-based leadership?

It’s always exciting to witness the human dynamics that occur in a training class with first generation, non-English fluent Hispanic employees. Initially, there is a certain amount of resistance and suspicion.

For many first generation Hispanics, this is the first time in many years where they’re stepping inside a classroom. Their first reaction is the feeling of vulnerability.

Their most common fear in the classroom: “What if I mess up in front of my coworkers? What if they laugh at me”?

It’s vital to put them at ease and to invite them to ask as many questions as they can think of. It doesn't matter how trivial they think those questions are. They must be made to realize that unless they ask questions and make a commitment to learn at least one or two new skills that they will immediately apply in the workplace. After all, the purpose of the training is to learn, grow and develop!

And finally, it's important to make the learning sessions fun and alive and not a dull and boring experience.

Once trust is established, the electricity in the classroom can reach magical levels! The new concepts and skills are internalized and the participants feel motivated to apply them. It’s so personally rewarding to see what happens when individuals want to learn and appreciate the learning experience.