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Pros and cons of a bilingual manager in a manufacturing plant

The pros and cons of having a bilingual manager in a manufacturing plant must be considered in order to ensure that such a manager would fit in well at any given plant.Many elements must be taken into account when choosing a manager.Adding an attribute like being bilingual to the mix of characteristics available in a candidate can make a candidate stand out either positively or negatively.


A bilingual manager will be able to convey clear instructions to employees.When employees do not understand the language that the manager is speaking, giving clear instructions can be difficult.If instructions are not followed exactly due to a language barrier, mistakes can be made and product quality or productions effectiveness could be affected.A bilingual manager who can speak the same language as employees is going to ensure that employees understand completely how to carry out specific tasks.

Trust between manager and employees will be created when the manager is bilingual.Employees who do not speak the same language as the manager may become frustrated when a manager seems unclear.Employees may also be unsure around machinery or apply dangerous practices because they did not understand the manager during their training.This can be resolved by employing a manager who speaks fluently the language of the employees.

Employing a bilingual manager will allow the manufacturing company to employ workers who may not speak English but who are willing to work for lower wages without hurting production speeds or quality.By hiring both English speaking and non-English speaking workers, the company will be able to keep production lines moving more effectively.The company will spend less time looking for employees and more time manufacturing products.


A manager claiming to be bilingual may end up causing more miscommunications because their language skills are not adequate enough to convey instructions or understand the concerns of employees.Languages are very complex, and the mix-up of only a few words could result in astronomical problems on the manufacturing floor.Manufacturers should be confident in a manager's ability to speak and understand a foreign language before allowing them to use that language to give instructions or resolve concerns.

Being bilingual can only be a positive attribute in a manager if the employees over whom that manager has jurisdiction speak one of the two languages that the manager speaks.Employees who speak Spanish are not going to respond to instructions in German or Chinese.Manufacturers should not presume that managers speak the predominant languages of the employees of any given plant.

Another concern that manufacturers should take into consideration is the type of manager needed for a given position.If a manufacturer prefers managers who will impose strict rules may wish to employ a manager who is not bilingual.A bilingual manager may begin to sympathize with employees allowing them to become lax regarding rules.This could result in a less productive plant or serious injuries.

Depending on the needs and philosophy of a manufacturer, hiring a manager who is bilingual could have pros or cons.Manufacturers should consider the spoken languages of their employees, the language competency of a manager, and the benefits of a larger hiring pool when considering a manager who claims to be bilingual.Manufacturers should not look at a bilingual manager as a guaranteed success without ensuring that the manager fits all of the plant's specific needs.

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