Interpreter Managers: Your Team Needs Some Fun!


Over the past several months we’ve looked at different things you can do, as a manager, to create a positive work environment that can attract and retain great interpreters.  We’ve discussed the importance of collaboration and why it’s critical to show appreciation.  We’ve looked at the value of making resources available and ways we can show compassion for the work medical interpreters do.  Last time we covered how accountability can make both your job and your interpreters’ job easier.

That is a lot of information and great food for thought.  Tactically, these areas are designed to create successful business results.  It is easy to get caught up in the daily grind of it all.  But in all of that work it is important to remember one thing:  Have fun!

Working in health care is no easy feat.  It fills our days with giant peaks of wins and deep valleys of lows.  And sometimes they both happen on the same day.  As a manager, you can guide the feel for the work your interpreters do.  Keeping a positive twist on the important work of interpreters will go a long way in creating a lasting impression and keep people coming back with a smile and a can-do attitude.

Here are some things to keep in mind:

Share fun anecdotes.  It’s always fun to hear how things came to be, how it was back in the day, a mishap that you or a friend experienced.  We all have stories that others will find interesting.  Even if it’s a story repeated over and over again, a little groan will most always generate a smile.

Telling a joke is a great way to bring a smile and make a day.  Little kids are the best place to find them.  To make it even more interesting, see if your team can interpret that joke and bring the same impact in another language.  Smiles are guaranteed all around when they give it a try!

Find a fun quote that fits what’s happening at the time, and write it on a board or send it in an email.  Maybe you found a picture of a cat or a fish.  Print it out and make them smile. 

Do what you can to make your central location fun and bright.  And, whenever you can, have a smile on your face.  Seek the positive of any situation but respect the challenges too.

Being a manager is a hard and sometimes thankless job.  To those on the outside looking in, they may think you don’t do anything at all.  If your team knows better and everyone is glad to be there, then you’re doing a good job.  All the effort and work you’re doing is showing them that you care.  And they will feel it.

No one is perfect.  But if you love the work you do and care about the impact medical interpreting has on our communities, you’ll keep striving to create a positive work environment that keeps great interpreters coming back.  You’ll be the proud manager of a team where Together Everyone Achieves More!

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Posted on January 20, 2016 and filed under Manager.