German team leads have an impersonal, business-like relationship with their team members. They maintain emotional distance from the team in order to guaranty neutrality and fairness. Especially when providing feedback on performance do they focus on results and not on the person.
This sachlich – impersonal, neutral, business-like – approach can be observed in the personal interaction between manager and team. When providing feedback German team leads are reserved, unemotional, their body language limited to a handshake. Neutrality is the key.
Whether discussing past performance or formulating new goals, the Germans focus on the facts, ideally on what is measurable. A discussion about development addresses professional skills and less so personal development. Critique is communicated in a respectful and serious way. Humour is considered disrespectful and unprofessional.
If the feedback discussion includes criticism, German managers strive to be particularly neutral, unemotional, fact-oriented. This reduces the potential for an escalation of emotions. The two parties should focus on performance. The discussion is impersonal and objective.