After spending a week at my Headquarters in United States, I could really experience the difference between the working style of Americans and Germans (where I live). There is no better or worse, only different approaches to the Job-life in general, reflecting into personal Relations and way of dealing with Problems. From someone who is either German nor American.
Working style is the result of many different aspects coming from cultural background, society, school, history, family habits, and many other. I understand it is not really correct to generalize, neither to talk on stereotypes, but… hey…. some things are just so right! Please no offence – Peace & Love.
1. Although Americans start working really early (7.30/8.00) entering in the office is an explosion of energy. The first thing the people say is “Hey today is going to be a great day!” and they start making jokes about fun things they have done the day before. There is a General good mood and everyone is willing to chat a little before getting into the “serious things” of work.The general atmosphere is quite elated. Even too much sometimes….Is it really so fun and great to go to work?
German workers start really early too but seem not to be really happy about it. Normally, before they get their Kaffee, they don’t like to talk that much. The impression I have is that they need a slow start to get better concentrated into the job. Good thing is that a German is right there already on work as soon as entering in the office.
2. The concentration is not really an American thing. People are interrupted quite often and they don’t seem to be bothered. The higher-level a person is the more the interrupting from him/her is “acceptable”. Sometimes, though, concentration is needed, especially in the process of creating or when working with numbers. Of course that lends to a much higher probability of mistaking. In opposite German workers are the most concentrated people in earth, they have a really high ability to stay focus for long time and usually when they start something, do not stop until it’s done. That capability help them avoid to making mistakes and stay focus on the results. Mistakes from German outputs are much less than from any other country (at least from my experience). Of course if you Interrupt a German working….Mmmmm…You don’t want to do that!
3. Communication is where the differences is most visible. Americans over communicate and make not filter. Usually they say what they have in mind directly, without thinking much and with no elaboration of the thoughts. This is also due to the English language, that makes communication so direct. German have the incredible capability to overly think before saying anything, the more educated they are the more they evaluate the though before saying it! It’s probably due to the German language that forces you to think of the complete sentence before saying (putting the verb at the end). They are also well though to do so in School, I see how hard it is for my Son to learn the German structure. Surely German have a natural way of reflecting over things that give them a natural wiseness when speaking and explaining something. A conversation with a German is always really focused and Goal oriented.
4. Pretty good FASTER Done is better than perfectly LATE Done! Every time I try to make something new, from the Event organisation to a new campaign, I start my battle! The German way is absolute the best structured, most precise and accurate in the world. A typical German person does actually consider ALL eventualities and possibilities, evaluates them and act accordingly making sure that what has been released is completely and absolutely verified. Well, that is great! But it is also time consuming, especially when it involves other people and they might be away 2 weeks on holiday…. Americans, to me, seem not to test or verify too much, just pushing for releasing always something newer and hotter. Sometimes too soon and causing more Problems than benefits. Again, can we have a Middle Way?
5. Patience is a wonderful German quality. Honestly, I really appreciate the ability of the German people to be able to wait and do not expect things done immediately right the way. When my German Boss or people from the German Team ask me to do something, timing is really always reasonable. That is also a sign of trust and respect on the other person. Of course, coming back to the point 4, it has to be done at some point and not taking forever!
The best working style would be probably something in between the two German and American – someone being able to concentrate, be precise and accurate like a German and able to communicate and empower like an American.
My two cents on working Style – I know too generic and stereotyped 🙂