Germans view conflict as fundamentally negative and unpleasant. Escalation should only be considered as a last resort. Because effective leadership means anticipating and preventing conflict, an escalated conflict is viewed as a sign of poor leadership.
Juxtaposing one’s own arguments with those of the conflicting party, and doing so in front of the next level of management, only increases tensions and makes it more difficult to resolve the conflict. Instead, the mediator interviews the conflicting parties separately.
The German team leader considers his mediation task to be primarily focused on reconstructing the causes, dynamics, and circumstances of the conflict as truthfully as possible. He seeks objective evidence to provide an exact answer to the leading question: “Why did this have to happen?”
When it comes to conflict resolution in Germans are skeptical if things are rushed. It’s important for the mediator or team leader to take their time. Otherwise, a hasty decision could end up being ineffective and only temporarily solving the problem, possibly leading to it resurfacing later on.
For a conflict resolution to be considered successful it must be accepted by all parties involved. Using forceful tactics is seen as inflexible and intimidating. In Germany, there is little tolerance for solutions that create winners and losers. Instead, the focus is on finding mutually beneficial outcomes.
Back to Germany.