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Submitted by Adriaan on


Hi all,

I was recently promoted to group COO of a rapidly growing medium sized startup, with a team split across two countries.

One of my new directs is our group QA lead. He only speaks a few phrases of English, which means that we have to communicate via a translator. This slows down meetings, e.g. I allow 45 min for O3s.

Our O3s tend towards him reporting back on his task lists, because that is how his previous boss ran them. His ex-boss is still in the meetings as part of handover, but I will be changing that shortly. None of this is great for building a relationship.

I am concerned that my staff meeting lose efficiency because either we will have to slow down for translation, or the QA manager will not get much value from the presented content.

I would appreciate it if you could share any advice or experience you have of managing directs where you don't share a common language.



Adriaan's picture
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My direct and I have managed to built a relationship via the translator. Two key points 1) find a good translator 2) use the same translator every time. Our relationship is good enough now that we can work through another translator, but it does have an impact.

With time and practice we have reduced the 1on1 to 30 minutes, even with translation.

barbarastl's picture

I did not see the first time you posted, but I'm glad you came back and posted an update. I'm glad to hear the situation has a positive outcome!