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Bilingual supervisors are under a great deal of pressure.  (I could write about 19 Light Bulb Moments on this topic alone, but I’ll be brief!)  Not only are they dealing with meeting production goals and managing employees (which is never easy), they are also being pulled (hard) in opposite directions.  Spanish-speaking employees often feel that if one of them accepts a promotion, that person has sold out to the Dark Side.  He is no longer one of “us,” he is one of “them.”

New supervisors tend to react to this in one of two ways: they either bend over backwards to accommodate employees (“Don’t worry if you’re running late—I’ll punch you in”) or become overly authoritarian and dictatorial.  Clearly, both of these strategies only wind up creating more pressure.  Employees will not step up to the plate and produce either for a supervisor who has no authority or for one who is, for lack of a better word, mean.

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