Being a language teacher is a great thing. We get to talk to all kinds of people, hand workers, managers, HRs, receptionists, salespeople, researchers, etc. After some time I can’t help it but I really like them. In my more than 5000 class hours I can tell you I’ve disliked less participants than fingers are there in a hand.
They might not like what I do, I make their lifes harder by learning another language, but my job the very first day is making them like me so we can work together. My job is make bearable the unbearable, create a safe atmosphere so they want to come back. They are welcome, regardless our differences. They are accepted even if we don’t feel the same about the English language.
Let me ask you something, how healthy is your social life? Do you consume the same ideas and points of view all over again? when was the last time you exchanged ideas with someone whose point of view was opposed to yours? What about your inner circle, are you all in the same page? I’ve learned that growing comes when we talk to people in different possitions, with different qualification than ours, someone who sees the world from a different perspective. We are all pieces from the same puzzle, your piece might be big and shiny, still is not the whole picture. Humble yourself and you’ll be honored.
Allow people different than you to enter your circle. Allow them to differ. Allow them to show you their piece of the puzzle. I got this from a young student: he told me that companies whose board is formed by men and women are more flexibe, resistant and anticipate better to changes. That sounds like real team work to me. Working with people similar than me makes me a good friend, but working with those with opposite skills will enrich and widen my view (if we manage not to kill each other). Don’t repress different because you don’t understand it, there’s some truth in it.
Encorage your people to embrace new challenges. Part of your problems come from people rooted in one position, waiting for their retirement to come and willing to sabotage anything new. You run a company, not a club, so challenge the status. Be a processing agent not only by launching new products every year. And in that process, listen to those who oppose to you; consider their ideas, keep the usefull and dismiss the useless. What I expect from you is to be wise enough to distinguish from all the influences out there, wich one to keep. That’s why you are the boss, right?