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Resolve a Communication Problem with a Team You Supervise

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Two members of a work team you supervise come from Arabic-speaking countries. A third (non-Arabic-speaking) team member complains to you that during meetings these two often speak with each other in Arabic, denying the rest of the team what might be important information. In addition, this employee says, they both have heavy accents, making their English difficult to understand.

What could you do to resolve this communication problem, given the time and resource limitations nearly all organizations have? Hiring an interpreter, for instance, would be out of the question, given your current budget situation.

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We need to consider the different ways that communication can be used in the work setting. Spoken language is only one facet of communication. The first action that should be taken is to eliminate the two team members from speaking in a foreign language with each other. This is creating hostility among the team members, which is compounding the problems that are already present. We have the issue of their English. If ...

Solution Summary

This solution discusses various solutions that can be used in order to increase team productivity. Language barriers are a common problem in the team setting. Specific elements are suggested that do not include using a foreign language interpreter, as it is outside of the team's budget.

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