Before you begin working your way to foreign language fluency, it helps to understand the culture behind the language you’re learning. After all, language exists to help a group of people express their ideas and beliefs. Italy is an old country with a rich history and culture. As you begin your Italian language program, gaining a strong grasp on this history, the values, and the etiquette will help you rapidly achieve success. In particular, if you’re going to do business in Italy, then it’s important to know the proper etiquette behind building Italian business relationships.
Obviously, positive social relations are considered highly important for team motivators, particularly in southern Italy. Appealing to one another on an emotional level is common, as is team loyalty. As a manager, you will be a success if you can provide a goal that helps individuals achieve their objectives and propels the team toward success at the same time. In Italian management, fluency of expression is essential. Most managers are good speakers, and the tone is usually very indirect and friendly, although it does have an authoritative style.
Foreigners may misinterpret the way statements are made, due to the manager’s subtle approach to speech. In comparison, Italians often find the language of their American and British counterparts overly direct or crude. Overall, Italians are not confrontational; however, if criticized directly they may hit back with all they have. They are particularly sensitive to accusations of disorganization or volatility. In the North, writing is the typical form of feedback, but oral feedback is the preferred option in the South. A key feature of receiving and giving feedback is being able to express personal feelings and ask questions.
For this reason, when disagreements arise, a face-to-face meeting is vital. Italians believe that as long as there is good will, most difficulties can be resolved. Italian managers may ask for personal help, quickly provide necessary information, and demonstrate an eagerness to find solutions. Openness to the feelings of others and flexibility are considered highly important.
Teamwork in Italy is a system that operates on the same principle as a family hierarchy. During the decision-making process on any given day, words such as “mutual dependence,” “mutual obligation,” and “family” are used when one is referring to other members of the team. Teams are typically comprised of specialized workers who operate under a team leader, the latter of whom is chosen based on experience and seniority, and therefore enjoys the group’s personal respect. Teams typically observe hierarchies, but it can be challenging for a young, new team leader to gain the anticipated respect.
Once again, the family hierarchy [Understanding the Importance of Hierarchy in Italy] analogy comes into place. The older team members are often seen as mentors to younger team leaders and provide advice concerning various matters. If this does not occur, the overall commitment of the team to work together may be compromised and a negative situation may occur. This typically happens in the form of senior colleagues undermining younger team leaders. However, most companies pay off and release such divisive individuals, as they believe that firing them is the only way to stop the trouble. Teamwork pace is typically steady and most individuals are compatible with their coworkers.
They generally have constant interaction with each other and attend meetings with their colleagues. Activities are not over-structured and hours are not rigidly fixed, as this reduces motivation. The focus of each team member is to maintain a positive relationship with his or her colleagues. It is important to be sensitive when dealing with others and show enthusiasm for one’s work. Developing a positive attitude, being loyal, remaining good-humored, and socializing with other team members are also considered high priorities. Teams often welcome support in progress chasing and planning, but because deadlines are typically not fixed, they may sometimes be missed.