Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Japanese management style

BBC - Capital - Why you don’t give praise in Japan

This all sounds about right, from what limited amount I have heard about the Japanese workplace. It is all rather odd, from a Western perspective:

Traditionally, the Japanese language had no word for feedback because
it just wasn’t something that anybody did, says Sharon Schweitzer, CEO
of Protocol and Etiquette Worldwide, and an expert on how managers can
assimilate in foreign countries. So they had to make up a word, fīdobakku.

Yet, it’s still simply not something that’s done. “If you don’t hear from
your Japanese manager, you’re doing well,” Schweitzer says. “If your
manager asks for an update on your project, that means you’re not doing

Managers in Japan aren’t likely to ask for an update because
employees are expected to constantly provide them. It’s a process called
hou-ren-sou and it involves subordinates sending their boss
emails, all day long, about when they’re going to lunch, the percentage
of the project they’ve finished, when they’re taking a coffee break,

For foreign managers, the temptation may be to reply
with accolades, congratulating them on finishing 32% of the project. But
don’t, Schweitzer cautions. “If you reply and tell them good job, you
will lose face and they will lose face. Just say thank you or don’t
reply at all.”

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