The Spanish term for leadership is brilliant.
Líder (LEE-dayr) is an obvious Spanish Twin.
In Spanish, Z’s sound like S’s, so rearrange the syllables and you get:
As the líder goes.
And as the líder goes… so go the masses.
But among the Hispanic masses in the U.S. – 53M strong & growing fast – there is a glaring job opening for this position.
Last month the Pew Hispanic Center released a study titled, “Three-Fourths of Hispanics Say Their Community Needs a Leader.”
The subtitle is more telling: Most Latinos Cannot Name One.
It’s not because Hispanics don’t want one. In a question confirming common sense from a demographic with nearly 12M members lacking legal permanence, 75% of respondents indicated it’s “extremely” or “very” important to have a leader.
Among the tallest midgets that made the list of non-consensus Hispanic leaders were Sonia Sotomayor, Marco Rubio and Antonio Villaraigosa.
With these selections we see the strength of regional ethnic origins:
- Sonia Sotomayor is Puerto Rican, raised in the Bronx. 25% of all Puerto Ricans live in and around NYC.
- Marco Rubio is Cuban and represents Florida where the overwhelming majority of Cubans live.
- Antonio Villaraigosa is the Mexican American former Mayor of L.A., where a huge contingent of Mexicans live.
These same individuals who lack general leadership on a national level may very well lack leadership on a local level. One way to learn more about this is to ask them.
But that requires communication.
What if this question was posed to the Hispanic workers on your site?
“In your opinion, who is the most important leader on the jobsite today?”
My guess is the majority would say their crew leader, who may or may not be the foreman. (Many a foreman has been selected not for his liderazgo, but for his fluency in English and diplomacy skills.)
Identifying local Hispanic jobsite leaders would be an important thing to know. Especially if you considered it your job to lead the workers on your site.
The local level – the situational level – is where liderazgo means the most.
And it can have the greatest impact on the job – and your job.
Demonstrate your interest and appreciation for the Hispanic workers on your site and you’ll see them take an interest in making your life easier. They’ll look out for you.
Yes – you should demonstrate your interest and appreciation with all the workers, but Hispanics are largely ignored on the job due to language barriers – perceived or real.
Leadership and Management are two singularly different activities.
You lead people.
You manage things.
In this respect, the Spanish language got it right as well.
Management in Spanish is Administración (ahd-mee-nee-strah-see-OHN).
So… are you an administrador or a líder?
There is a vacancy at this position.
Take a step towards it.
As the líder goes…
Bradley Hartmann is founder and El Presidente at Red Angle (www.redanglespanish.com), a training and consulting firm bridging the English-Spanish (and a bit of Polish…) language gap in the construction industry.
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Categories: Jobsite Leadership