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The Effect of a lack of Leadership Training in Japan

​A great leader has the ability to make a lasting positive impact on the business similarly, a not so great leader has the opposite affect and the negative affects can be seen on employees morale, productivity, and motivation. This is especially important when we consider the c state of the Japanese job market with job change at an all time high.

The unemployment rate in Japan as of January 2018 was only 2.4%. That is actually lower than most developed countries have ever had. While it sounds good in theory to have such low unemployment, it is important to remember that there will always be a natural unemployment, and that rates this low can actually have negative effects on the market. It is more important than ever for companies in Japan to hold onto their employees and should invest in their employees. Part of this includes getting management on board and providing them with the resources and skill set to manage employee moral in a positive way.

If companies need to hold onto their employees, and need good managers to do that, how do they get good managers? Whether or not people are born with leadership abilities has been long debated, but studies have shown in the long term that leadership skills can both come naturally and be learned. So even if an employee doesn’t show all the necessary leadership traits initially, some of these skills can and should be developed!

As analyzed in our report on ‘Careers in Japan’s Healthcare Industry’ based on a Healthcare industry survey conducted in mid 2017, only 61% of respondents agreed that their company had an adequate leadership training program. We found as well that Japanese domestic companies tended to score lower for leadership training programs and that the pharmaceutical companies scored the best of any industry in healthcare.

Benefits of Leadership Training-01


Leadership training isn’t limited to a middle manager level. In fact, as was shown in ‘Careers in Japan’s Healthcare Industry’, 80% of professionals at director/executive level in Japanese domestic companies feel their company doesn’t offer adequate leadership training programs. These are the people that are leading the business and are responsible for helping the business achieve results and hit their goals. 


What are some of the key qualities of an effective training program and specifically leadership training? Here are a few characteristics of top employee training programs:

It should be needs-based

The training program should always relate to a knowledge gap or skill gap in the organization. By identifying the knowledge or skill gap, the program has a tangible goal and develops a specific focus.

It should align with company values

Like all strategic company decisions, it should align with company values. The training program should align with the key values, mission, and goals of the company both short term and long term.

It needs assessment metrics

There is no way to determine if the training program is a success without assessment metrics. In order to continue to improve the program going forward, quantifiable performance metrics are key.

It should be adaptable

After assessing the performance of the program, it should be easily adapted to make a better version. The training program should be flexible to change and growth as the organization evolves. Being open to change when a better solution comes along can drastically improve the program.

Some of the main aspects of leadership training include:

  • How to make sure the team direction is aligned with the company goals

  • How to measure Key Performance Indicators within a team

  • How to inspire unmotivated staff

  • How to build communication and interpersonal skills

  • How to recognize strengths and weaknesses in oneself, and within team members

Another hidden benefit of leadership training—other than creating better managers—is that the leader themselves will feel more motivated at work. This is very important to help develop long term employees for more executive roles.

Yes, it is true that some people will naturally be better at recognizing strengths and weaknesses in team members; or at motivating the uninspired. Leadership training needs to be in place to teach managers the skills they should possess, in order to hold them accountable to these qualities and employees put in leadership positions should expect the proper training. 

For managers looking to develop their leadership skills, keep lines of communication with superiors and HR open to suggest the implementation of a leadership training program. If no direction is given, perhaps it is time for to consider moving to a company that will take the time to develop those necessary leadership skills.

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