Leadership Made in Germany: Low on Compassion, High on Performance
As part of the GLOBE project, we collected data on culture and leadership in Germany from 457 middle managers in the telecommunications, food processing, and finance industries. The most pronounced German cultural value is performance orientation. The hallmark of German cultural practices is high levels of uncertainty avoidance and assertiveness, along with low levels of humane orientation. At work, compassion is low and interpersonal relations are straightforward and stern. It seems that conflict and controversy are built into the German societal culture. As has been shown in the GLOBE project by using data from 61 countries. characteristics attributed to a country's outstanding leaders match closely with its cultural values and practices. This holds true for Germany. Effective German leaders are characterized by high performance orientation, low compassion, low self-protection, low team orientation, high autonomy, and high participation. Conflict and controversy seem to be built into the German leadership culture as well. A "tough on the issue, tough on the person" leadership approach appears to explain Germany's economic accomplishments in the second half of the 20th century. However, it does not seem to be a promising approach to meet the challenges of globalization in the 21st century. Are Germany's societal. organizational, and leadership cultures prepared for an adaptive change? A "tough on the issue, soft on the person" leadership approach seems to be the right recipe for German managers.