Every team has a lead and members. Who interact with each other. Leadership is about the thinking behind that interaction. Let’s contrast that thinking:
Stratey and Tactics
Germans﹣those leading as well as those being led﹣prefer generally formulated, mission oriented tasks. The mission addresses more the what and less the how. Overall responsibilitiy for results lies on the tactical level with the implenter, but is shared to some degree with the team lead.
Americans﹣those leading as well as those being led﹣prefer specifically formulated, command oriented tasks. The command addresses both the what, and to some degree the how. Overall responsibilitiy for results lie on the strategic level with the team lead, but is shared to some degree with the implementer.
Germans believe that important decisions should be reached via consensus. Ideally within the entire management team, but at least among its key members. Once made, those decisions are best implemented when communicated, understood and accepted by the entire team.
Americans believe that important decisions should be made by the leader. Ideally with input from key members of the management team. Once made, those decisions are best implemented when communicated and understood by the entire team.
Germans expect room to interpret decisions when implementing them. They consider that to be a key part of their work. In many situations deviation from an assigned task is unavoidable, thus accepted and expected by leadership. In certain situations Germans feel obligated to deviate greatly from a decision which they, as experts on the ground, judge to be unwise, counterproductive, or harmful to the business.
The line between those who make decisions and are responsible for their outcomes, and those who carry out those decisions, is drawn very distinctly in the American context. Decisions which cannot work or would damage overall efforts are communicated carefully and diplomatically up through the chain of command by those working on the tactical level. There is very low tolerance﹣among both team leads and members﹣for independent questioning of decisions.
Lines of Communication
If Germans﹣those leading as well as those being led﹣prefer generally formulated, mission oriented tasks (more what, less how), it follows that they will maintain longer lines of communication with their team members: less interaction, less frequent status meetings, fewer iterations on tactical issues.
If Americans﹣those leading as well as those being led﹣prefer specific, command oriented tasks (both what and how), it follows that they will maintain shorter lines of communication with their team members: more interaction, more frequent status meetings, more iterations on tactical issues.