The 101 Guide to Working with Brazilians
Postado por Editorial
NOW THAT BRAZIL IS IN THE SPOTLIGHT, PEOPLE HAVE COME TO ME LEFT AND RIGHT ASKING HOW BRAZILIANS WORK. TODAY I HAVE DECIDED TO GIVE YOU A 101 GUIDE. THERE IS DEFINITELY NO BLACK OR WHITE AND THIS POST IS NOT SUPPOSED TO DESCRIBE EVERY SINGLE BRAZILIAN SINCE WE ARE ALL VERY UNIQUE AND A LOT DEPENDS ON THE REGION WE COME FROM. NOT ONLY THAT, ONE HAS TO TAKE INTO ACCOUNT THE PERSON’S EDUCATIONAL BACKGROUND, THE SOCIAL CLASS THAT PERSON WAS RAISED IN AND THE EXPOSURE TO THE WORLD AN INDIVIDUAL MAY HAVE HAD. HOWEVER, IN GENERAL TERMS, THE POINTS I WILL MENTION BELOW WILL DEFINITELY GIVE YOU A PRETTY GOOD IDEA OF WHAT TO EXPECT WHEN WORKING WITH BRAZILIANS.
Expect to be interrupted
You might as well accept it, you will be interrupted. This will happen in business interactions, meetings, outings, dinners, you name it. This doesn’t mean Brazilians are rude or don’t know how to listen. It is simply common for Brazilians to be active participants in a conversation or presentation and their way to show they are interested is to voice their opinions and make themselves heard. To some cultures this may seem completely out of line but please don’t take offense to this. On the contrary, you should take interruptions as a good sign. For the most part this means people are interested in what you are saying. So much so that they care enough to intervene.
Heated discussions and passionate points of view
This is a topic that hits home for me. I have been married to my American husband for 13 years and even to this day he thinks I am arguing when I am not. I have had the same situation at work. If I believe something I will make sure you believe it, too. Because Brazilians are extremely passionate people they talk with a lot of emotion. If there is a word that can define Brazilian culture that word is “emotion.” So, if you are ever in a meeting don’t be surprised if you see people disagreeing and arguing their points to exhaustion. That’s absolutely normal. Brazilians in general will do their best to persuade their counterparts into seeing things from their perspective. In the process they will argue their points with conviction and emotion. To some Anglo cultures who are not at all used to this, this sort of behavior may seem over the top and even irrational. Just try to remember, this is a different culture with different approaches. No one has any intentions to be offensive. The best part is, after a heated meeting you will all go out after work for a nice happy hour.
No “I” in team. Really.
In Brazil team work is really team work. I have said this here before but Brazilians truly work together through every step of a project. The concept of sharing responsibility is not common. To work as a team means you have each other’s back. The final product is the result of a group effort and not of individual contributions. If there are any issues with one of the teammates the others will pick up that person’s part and do the work. There is no room for being territorial and no room for having one team member stand out more than the others. This is a true representation of a collaborative culture. Individualistic cultures have a hard time understanding this dynamic and many times think members of collaborative cultures are lazy because it can be a challenge to get one single person to be the “leader” or the person who will represent the team. For Brazilians, putting yourself out on display is seen as selfish. A team will stand together. Always.
Brazilians are very loyal. Loyal to their families, partners, friends and extremely loyal to their managers and companies. This is truly something to pay attention to. When working with Brazilians keep in mind that they will do everything in their power to do the best for the company and the best to make their managers look good. Loyalty goes along with respect. Many times people will pass on opportunities because they don’t want to compromise their loyalty to their managers. I myself have passed on great job offers because I didn’t want to sacrifice my relationship with my boss. In hindsight, it may not have been the best decision but because of my culture and how I was raised, it was completely justifiable.
There you have it. This should give you a good idea of what working with Brazilians looks like. Remember, there is no right or wrong. But if you have a better understanding of how Brazilians tend to work that means you have a greater chance at success.