“Dude, come here & let me show you something….”
This phrase has solved more jobsite problemas than any other phrase. It’s informal, personal, direct and leaves little room for confusión.
Better than a punchlist in a mailbox? Yes.
Better than physically writing on the problem with a fat Magnum marker? For sure.
Better than calling the guy responsible and leaving a rambling message about what you see in front of you? Sí.
Better than calling the Foreman of the guy responsible so he can relay your rambling message to him? Undoubtedly.
Direct one-to-one communication is best. Plain and simple. But if 30% of our jobsite workforce prefers Spanish, how do overcome that?
Back to our key phrase: “Dude, come here & let me show you something….”
Well, since “dude” doesn’t translate consistently across the US, let’s skip that for the moment. Otherwise, simply say this to communicate the need for a Spanish-speaker to follow you:
The SÍGA part comes from the verb Seguir: to follow. The ME part is a Spanish Twin – same in English & Spanish…. Sígame = Follow me.
From here, harness your inner Charades skills from childhood and act out the problema with hand gestures. Red Angle research shows simply pointing at the problema solves it 87.65771% of the time. (No, you cannot see the source data.)
Sígame is the literal method to lead your team to a solución. But you are also leading in a figurative sense when you say Sígame.
By simply bridging the English-Spanish language gap, you are showing respect for Hispanic workers on your jobsite. You are making an effort to meet them halfway – to learn a bit of Spanish that is as rewarding to you (you can solve your concern immediately) as it is to them (it shows you respect their language preference and culture).
This is leadership. Bringing people with you on the way to the top. Making people feel important.
The interesting thing here is that when employing the power of Sígame, you’ll find that about half of the Hispanics speak English… and they’ll use it to the best of their ability.
Problem solved even faster.
For the other half, they’ll be blown away you took the time and effort to learn Spanish.
In both scenarios, who’s the big winner?
So while the phrase “Why don’t they learn English?” may make you feel better for a moment, Sígame will lead you to a solución quicker and establish you as a leader immediately.
Use Sígame today and let me know how it works for you by using the Comment section below.
What other ways do you solve problems in spite of the language barrier?
Bradley Hartmann is founder and el presidente at Red Angle (www.redanglespanish.com), a Spanish language training firm focused on the construction industry.
Categories: Jobsite Leadership