HOW TO BRIDGE LANGUAGE BARRIERS IN THE WORKPLACE
As more businesses grow internationally, having a team speaking different languages is becoming more common (and necessary!). But how to create an environment of inclusion, where everyone can be understood and reach their full potential?
It’s not hard to access the negative effects of a language barrier. It turns complicate to give instructions, to have effective trainings, to explain expectations and receive feedback. It may even turn into a problem to create a feeling of belonging and a strong business culture.
But what if the situation inverts? If the company is going abroad and the founder doesn’t have a good domain of the language?
It is not mandatory for a leader to know the languages of all the countries where the business operates. However, nothing sends the message of courtesy and the value of diversity more than the willingness to learn, specially if it is from your employees.
Simple words such as hello, goodbye, please and thank you can be a good start to interact with them. It shows empathy for the people, and values what is behind their language, which is their culture. The effort to learn a different language and, consequently, a different culture, besides being extremely respectful, can also add key abilities at work.
A recent research from Cambridge shows that people who speak a foreign language is likely to be more analytical when taking decisions. A study from Albert Costa, from University Pompeu Fabra, in Barcelona, Spain, shows that, in a second language, people have lesser emotional impact and engage in a more analytical mind process when deciding important things.
Listed below are some suggestions to improve communication with an international team: