Impersonal Critique

In the German context feedback about one‘s work is in and of itself not personal. Germans – team leads as well as members – can argue vehemently about business topics and at the same time have a friendly, collegial working relationship. German management can criticize harshly an employee but still respect and personally like that individual. In Germany feedback is not personal.

In German team meetings open, honest, direct feedback is not only permitted, it is desired. Weaknesses in individual performance are addressed by team lead and members alike. The criticism, however, is not meant, and is not taken, as a personal attack, not jemandem etwas ins Gesicht sagen (to tell them off), but more to „get a it on the table“, in den Raum stellen.

Jemandem etwas ins Gesicht sagen: to say something critical to another person‘s face; to say something mean, unfair, provoking; to tell someone the unadultered truth; to give another person „a piece of your mind.“

Etwas in den Raum stellen: to put something in the room; to raise a question, a problem; to comment on, to make an observation; to bring a subject into the discussion.