Masters of Their Work

Germans – both management and employees – strive to work independently, on their own, with as little supervision as possible. Most importantly, Germans expect of themselves and each other a high degree of mitdenken, of thinking with.

Mitdenken┬ánot only reduces the need for management oversight – it also means that management need not get too involved in the details of the work on the tactical level, the how. But can German management fully rely on their employees to do their work in the best interest of the company? Germans answer this questions indirectly with a yes.

Whenever cases are uncovered where Germans employers use technology to monitor their employees’ behaviour and/or performance, there is immediate and loud protest not only from those employees, but from the German public in general.

For Germans, to self-manage, to work independently, means a high level of trust between employer and employee, between team lead and team. For Germans, the permission to work in an independent fashion is a sign of recognition, of ability and trustworthiness.

For German employees, it is a clear sign of recognition when they are given a task to complete on their own. They are proud to take on the task, proud of their ability, regardless of whether management voices praise or offers any kind of monetary benefit.

Through the ability to work independently, to need little management supervision, German employees see themselves less as Diener, those who serve, and more as Berater, as collaborating almost as partners with their manager.