In the weeks leading up to the job swap, there was a fair amount of speculation, even concern, in the German organization about having Luke as their lead for a year. They feared American-style management, which they believed to be defined by micromanagement.
As is often the case in the German-American space, much of what each side thinks of the other is based either on clichés or on hearsay or on limited, misunderstood and unreflected interaction with each other.
On the American side there was a good amount of familiarity with Theo, since directly after the takeover he had worked in an American-dominated part of the company. Unfortunately, that assignment did not go well for Theo. Apparently, he and his American boss did not get along all too well. But the Americans didn‘t pay much attention to that.
Immediately after Luke and Theo made their moves to the respective other country, I executed customized workshops separately with them and their direct reports. We focused on key topics such as communication, decision making, leadership, conflict resolution, processes philosophies, and customer approaches.
As is my method, we addressed the differences in approaches between Germans and Americans, enabling Theo and his team, and Luke and his team, to establish groundrules for the next year.
Are there differences in how Americans and Germans lead and want to be lead? In other words, are there differences between the two leadership logics?