As I wrap up my last week in Colorado, Jody and I want to tackle a unique listener question from an anonymous listener. If you have a diverse staff, how do you handle it when some of your staff speak their native language? Especially if another staff member is concerned that they are being talked about?
Honestly, I have been guilty of this myself. When I worked in France, I didn’t speak French, and I spoke English to anyone on my staff who understood it. I was not using my native language to talk about any of the French-speaking staff. It was a matter of ability and comfort.
It is probably not something that needs to be a concern. People feel comfortable speaking in their native language. If a team member is worried, you can mention it to the party in question and confirm with both parties what was discussed. The goal is not to worry. As English speakers, we must understand we live in a multi-cultural world. We would not want to have to speak every language of every country to do business there. It isn’t realistic to expect others to forgo their language and only speak English.
Sometimes, it is an issue of comfort. Sometimes, it is an issue of efficiency. The real issue behind this question is to ensure we are creating an atmosphere where all of our staff feel welcome, even if they don’t speak the dominant language. Often, individuals cling to their language out of embarrassment and insecurity – I know this from experience.
We need to understand that it is difficult for individuals to operate in something other than their native language. But we can still communicate positively; by paying attention to everyone, regardless of their language or even their personality. Go out of your way to acknowledge people and show them you care. A smile can go a long way.
You can create a good relationship and working environment without speaking the same language. Greet people with a smile. Be friendly. Shake hands and go out of your way to interact. Laughter has no accent, and when you make it your goal to make all staff feel welcome, these “barriers” become non-issues.
If you want to work with a team that will go out of their way to make sure you have a great experience, check out Magical Vacation Planners. You can reach them at 407-442-2694.