Intercultural Management - Cyprus
Being a Manager in Cyprus
When working in Cyprus, cross cultural management will be more effective if you bear in mind the importance that status plays. Status is largely determined by social class and family background and you should always treat those in authority with respect and deference. Wait until invited before moving to a first-name basis and expect this to take several meetings.
Never refuse an offer of food or drink as Cypriots pride themselves on their hospitality. Be prepared to invest time in letting your business colleagues get to know you. Business people under the age of 35 are often less formal than their older counterparts.
The Role of a Manager
When working in Cyprus, cross cultural management will be more successful if you bear in mind that each person has a very distinct role within the organization, and maintaining that role helps to keep order. People believe that their supervisors have been chosen because they have more experience and greater knowledge than those they manage, and it is, therefore, unnecessary, and even inappropriate for them to consult with lower-ranking individuals when decision-making.
In Cyprus, as in other hierarchical societies, managers may take a somewhat paternalistic attitude toward their employees. They may demonstrate a concern for employees that goes beyond the workplace and strictly professional concerns. This may include involvement in their family, housing, health, and other practical life issues.
Approach to Change
Cyprus’s intercultural adaptability and readiness for change is improving although changes are still made slowly, requiring a considerable amount of thought, planning and evaluation.
Cross cultural sensitivity is important with Cyprus’s attitude toward risk dramatically impacted by the negative ramifications of failure on both the individual and the group.
Approach to Time and Priorities
Cyprus is a moderate time culture and there may be some flexibility to strict adherence to schedules and deadlines.
When working with people from Cyprus, it’s advisable to reinforce the importance of the agreed-upon deadlines and how that may affect the rest of the organization.
Successful cross cultural management will depend on the individual’s ability to provide and meet deadlines.
Cypriot business is hierarchical and managers are more autocratic than in many other countries. There are remnants of social class distinctions in the business arena. Managers do not seek a consensus before making decisions, as they believe it would make them appear weak.
They tell subordinates what they want done and how they expect them to perform the task. At the same time, managers are paternalistic, and will assist their subordinates if they have personal problems. Employees follow a manager’s instructions without comment, as it would be rude to challenge someone of a higher status.
Boss or Team Player?
If you are working in Cyprus, cross cultural sensitivity is important and you must bear in mind that honour and reputation play an important role. If you would like to encourage participation it is important first to clearly establish a non-threatening work environment and communicate fully that participation is desired.
When meeting together and moderating ideas, it is important to qualify ideas that are raised in a gentle manner, protecting the reputation of those bringing up ideas, so no one is shamed. If someone is exposed and embarrassed, they may likely not participate again, and it will stem the flow of ideas and the participation of the entire group.
Communication and Negotiation Styles
To ensure successful intercultural business dealings, it is important to understand that personal relationships are the foundation of a successful business relationship. Who you know can be more important than what you know. Do not raise your voice or appear upset or emotional while speaking. Remember that business discussions can be lengthy and that contracts are crucial and will be followed to the letter. Cypriots are skilled negotiators and you should expect a great deal of bargaining. Opening bids should leave a great deal of room for negotiation and concessions on both sides.