Teaching Students About the Consigliere


In any organization, a well-structured decision-making process is crucial. In the world of organized crime, this is no exception; the Mafia specifically relies on the guidance and strategic counsel of a consigliere. While teaching students about criminal activities might be controversial, it’s crucial to understand this figure from a historical and cultural perspective. By exploring the consigliere’s role, students will gain a deeper understanding of decision-making processes, strategic thinking, trust-building, and conflict resolution.

Defining the Consigliere

The term “consigliere” originates from the Italian word “consiglio,” which means advice or counsel. In organized crime syndicates like the Mafia, a consigliere is an adviser or a counselor to the boss. The role may also be found in various legitimate sectors such as politics and business.

Historical Context

The consigliere’s roots trace back to Medieval Italy when advisers would guide city leaders on matters related to governance and diplomacy. Eventually, this concept evolved into the consigliere’s function in organized crime today. The 1972 movie “The Godfather” famously depicted Tom Hagen as a consigliere who provided legal advice and mediation services for Vito Corleone.

Understanding the Role

1. Advisor: A consigliere must have extensive knowledge in their field to advise effectively. When teaching students about this role, educators must emphasize that obtaining expertise requires dedication, constant learning, and sharpening problem-solving skills.

2. Trustworthy and Loyal: The consigliere’s relationship with their boss is built upon absolute trust and loyalty. Students should discuss various trust-building strategies such as maintaining confidentiality, empathy, honesty, and consistency.

3. Conflict Resolution: Consiglieres often need to resolve conflicts both within their organization and with rival groups. Effective communication, diplomacy, and negotiation skills are essential in these situations. Role-playing exercises can help students develop these talents while understanding the consigliere’s role better.

4. Ethical Considerations: Discussing the consigliere’s responsibilities can be an opportunity to teach students about ethical decision-making and personal integrity.

5. Adapting to Change: Consiglieres must adapt to an ever-changing environment. Students should explore the challenges they face in modern times, such as cybercrime, globalization, and increased regulation.

6. Relevance in Other Sectors: The consigliere role goes beyond organized crime, and it’s essential to teach students how similar advisors operate ethically in various industries, such as politics, business, or even sports.


Teaching students about consiglieres can provide valuable lessons on strategic thinking, trust-building, and conflict resolution. By examining both historical and contemporary examples, educators can inspire lively debates on ethics, decision-making processes, and how this role can be translated into various sectors of society. Encouraging students to think critically about the implications of the consigliere’s duties will contribute to their development as future leaders and decision-makers.

Choose your Reaction!