Americans don’t make decisions

Question

Our American colleagues appear to be reluctant to make decisions on their own. Either they will not make a decision or if they do, they will do so only on the condition that they get the final OK or the final sign-off from their boss. Why is this so?

UC

The explanation for this would be too long and too complicated for this Q&A context. Let me direct you to UC’s content on the topics of decision-making and on leadership for a deep dive on the topic.

For now, however, let me offer a key insight into the difference between American and German leadership logic that might prove helpful. The American leadership model is more top-down, hierarchical, and command-and-control, than most Americans realize or care to admit.

American team members are often not empowered to make decisions. Team leads might reach their conclusions independently and make a recommendation to their boss, but in the end, it is the boss alone who signs off on the final decision, she makes the final call.

The Germans have another leadership logic. They give their people more freedom and autonomy to make decisions. German team members expect, and often demand, that responsibility. And it is given to them. Thus, they feel empowered to make decisions without consulting their team lead

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