– Tanaka-san, what do you think is needed when you want to be a good leader?
For me – two things. The first thing is to love people, give them opportunity for their growth as business men. A business leader has to be able to identify a good point in each subordinate for their growth. Also, a leader has to create scenarios for his subordinates on how to gain experience in order to achieve business successes. The second thing is to help them to believe in themselves.

– Could you list some characteristics of a good leader/manager?

Fairness, cleanliness in mind, and good health are the most important things.

– How do you understand charisma in the Japanese culture?
Difficult to answer. Charisma in Japan consists of many factors such as your family tree, skills and abilities, and concentration on public benefit. The last one is probably the most important thing -that someone does not have desire of own benefit…

– How does a Japanese manager gain authority and respect?
It is very easy. In case of a problem occurred, you as a manager take final responsibility on job results of a subordinate. Never run away! In case of success, a good manager should praise subordinate’s performance. Finally, in both cases, the subordinates will respect their manager. They need to feel their own growth and receive promotions with salary increase.

-What are the most important things that employees expect from a manager in the Japanese culture?
I think expectations to managers from employees are the same all over the world. In business reality, there are so many things changing all the time, at the end they are very different from what they were at the beginning. If the original business plan has been well investigated and planned, then the leader has to push on this direction. His subordinate will work with confidence supported by the leader.

– What differences have you noticed between the Japanese concept of a manager/leader and the concept in all the other countries where you have worked so far?
I do not notice any difference between the Japanese and other countries good management concept. A good business concept is good in any country. In Japan we have many bad managers and unfortunately the same happens in US, Thailand or Poland.

Interviewer: Monika Schwertner

Kyoji Tanaka, Managing Director of Tokai Easter Rubber (Thailand) LTD.
On the left side of the photo Mr. Kyoji Tanaka receiving National OSHE Best Workplace Performance (ESIE Plant), July 2011.

Tokai Rubber Industries was established in 1929. At the moment the company has about 13500 employees. Annual sales is on a level of 272,488 million yen. The company business is manufacturing and sales of automobile components including anti-vibration rubber and hoses, IT-related components including precision cleaning blades and precision rolls, and a range of industrial materials.