Power-Harassment is a Japanese coined word to express harassment in the workplace from a position of power. There are quite a few workers worrying about this unreasonable attack from a pretty emotional boss these days in Japan. Harassment problem becomes as serious social phenomenon as deterioration of human relationships end up driving a person into a corner and making him/her commit suicide.

I hear so many news that bereaved families accused company and a boss who drove a person into suicide of brutal harassment for compensation for damage. Today I just want to talk about a feature of Japanese bosses who drive a person into suicide.

Harassment permissive society

“Mo-retsu shain = 猛烈社員 ” is a word that indicates an employee who work hard enough to devote him/her life to a company. This word is translated simply as a workaholic employee or organization person who lose him/her individuality.

In a period of time when the importance of regulatory compliance was not widely recognized among Japanese companies, boss who have no mercy to press subordinates thoroughly was looked as a Moretsu-Shain and on the contrary, received good recognition from a company.

Behaviors of persistent harassment including personal attacks by a harassment boss were purposely ignored as necessary evil and some of upper managements looked this kind of treatment in positive way like it was quite reasonable measure to make employees stronger and have good performance in very severe environment.Bosses with these features badly got promoted on after another.

Nowadays, Japanese society problematizes existence of a harassment boss who disturbs nurturing of young workers with persistent harassment and deprive them of working motivation and drive them into retirement after all.

A company that ignored working circumstance and is indifferent to renovation of compliance is labeled as “black company (sweat shop)” by retired employees.

Risks of bad rumors is ,needless to say, directly related to company images given to both clients and job applicants so existence of a harassment boss becomes disturbance in terms of risk management and regulatory compliance.

Lately, Japanese company’s attitude has flexibly changed in terms of its compliance involved with human relations. Some companies try to persuade a harassment person to improve his/her problem behaviors and makes him/her promise prevention of recurrence and take a step of giving punishment such as transferring department if seeing no room at all for improvement in a person’s attitude towards colleagues.

Features of a Japanese harassment boss

Behaviors and Character

  • Appeal and emphasize his/her power and influence inside a section and coerce subordinates with verbal violence for self-protection in an organization.
  • Even if he/she did something culpable enough to be blamed, never accept it and if someone indicate his/her wrong doing, take minatorily aggressive attitude to a person who indicates.
  • If there is a problem in an office, try to protect his/her own position by blaming subordinates thoroughly
  • Seeing only superficial part of a harassment boss involved with performance rating and evaluation about personal working attitude and business results, it is often the case that a he/she is quite capable in an office so he/she tries to refute thoroughly a subordinate to silence or brainwash a subordinate to push his/her way of thinking by taking advantage of past business experience and logical confuting ability and amount of tasks if there is something wrong with a client.

  • A harassment boss’s personality is immaturity and too proud. On the other hand, he/she has faint-hearted and vulnerable heart.
  • A harassment boss is proud of the number of people who he/she drove into depression as if it is heroic episode
  • Drive his/her spouse into depression by letting out anger to his/her spouse

Unfair communication

  • Abstract indication with idealism that has no consistency from a harassment boss who has been away from field work for a long time causes confusion and troubles to employees working in the field. No matter who indicate boss’s wrongdoing, a harassment boss never accepts what he/she did and contrarily blamed a subordinate for cause of mess.
  • Some harassment bosses are quite capable enough to be good at logical thinking and public speaking but his/her personality and emotional control is so immature that he/she have no doubt his/her indication and preaching to subordinates are perfect and is insensible to discouraging them.
  • At the moment a subordinate tries to explain progress report of a project, a harassment boss chops off subordinate’s talk and put the fierce blame on a subordinate like “Don’t make excuses. Don’t blame someone for this. You are useless”. If a harassment boss keeps treating a subordinate like this, a subordinate will close his/her mind to a boss and try not to talk to a boss as much as possible except for minimum necessary thing related to tasks and this situation brings lowering effectiveness and productivity and lack of communication between a boss and subordinates in a section.
  • Harassment boss’s way of speaking gives discouragement to subordinates as if doubting subordinate’s motivation and ability
  • A harassment boss gives an unreasonable order with plausible reason but when he/she are indicated for defectiveness of justice of his/her order, push die-hard spirit to subordinates and bluster subordinates into submitting by any means./
  • A harassment boss persistently speaks his critical impression and mistakes that a subordinates made in the past to a subordinate as he/she make a boast of his/her past results and business history to look down on a subordinate.
  • A harassment boss will tell his insistence to a subordinate on and on for a long time but try not to listen what a subordinate says.
  • Sometimes harassment boss’s insistence is logically correct at a glance with a lesson got from his/her indubitable business experience and results so that it is pretty difficult for a subordinate to object his/her argument. A harassment boss tries to dye a subordinate in his/her hue at the time a subordinate takes an action that increase his/her evaluation in an office or a section.
  • If a subordinate makes a mistake, a harassment boss doesn’t instruct correct way but just blame a subordinate for a mistake.
  • A harassment boss labels a subordinate as incompetent person, who couldn’t fulfill his/her quota that a boss assigned

Labels a subordinate as incompetent person, who couldn’t fulfill his/her quota that a boss assigned

  • Even if a subordinate fulfilled his/her quota, a harassment boss doesn’t admire and accept the result, and take it for granted.
  • A harassment boss is quite capable as one sales man. He/She has no doubt everyone can do what he/she can do in the same manner so that a boss imposes the same amount of quota that a boss has or more to subordinates and newbies.
  • A harassment boss puts the blame on a subordinate for failure originated from boss’s indication and reports this to HR. In the result, subordinate’s evaluation goes worse, which influences salary raise and promotion. This boss’s treatment ends up driving a subordinate into retirement.

 A harassment boss’s influence is far-reaching to not only a subordinate but over subordinate’s colleagues and his/her family.

  • A harassment boss frequently refers to colleague’s opinion and insult subordinate’s pride like boss says “Mark(subordinate’s colleague ) said you’re not suitable for this project. What do you think about his opinion? I am frustrated about what he said.” A harassment boss gives such an utterance to a subordinate in order to encourage a subordinate and stir up a spirit of competition or to appeal people the impression as a good boss taking good care of a subordinate. However a subordinate may not be able to read boss’s intention and far from that, a subordinate may start feeling aversion to a colleague, which causes being odds at each other in the same section.
  • Because a harassment boss is quite excellent enough to have ever solved any problems by him/herself so far, he/she instructs a subordinate to solve any problems alone and doesn’t give much support to a subordinate. Moreover, a harassment boss tries to have his/her own way in using a subordinate as a slave so although he/she gives no authority to a subordinate, he /she tells clients that all the responsibility of product management lie at subordinate’s door and let a subordinate assume a extremely important position and if there is a problem between client and subordinate, a harassment boss makes a subordinate clear up his/her own mess alone without any support.
  • Even when causing a trouble between a client and a subordinate and a subordinate reports to a boss for solution, a harassment boss only indicate like “Do something somehow. This is your responsibility ” after denying subordinate’s trouble completely without understanding the background and situation where a subordinate stand by judging everything from his/her past experiences.
  • Even if a client indicates the cause of subordinate’s fault originates from defectiveness of how a boss manages and instructs subordinate, a harassment boss never admits his/her culpability stubbornly because of being too proud with his/her past experiences and results. Moreover, because of bearing a grudge against a client embarrassing him/her, a harassment boss points a spear of anger to a subordinate and imposes extremely unreasonable amount of quota as a part of instruction. In the end, not only a subordinate is collapsed but this boss’s behavior is the trigger for making a client distrust and terminating a contract in the worst case. Even in this situation that influences company’s operation, a harassment boss even evaluates there was a fault in a subordinate.
  • In the case when subordinate’s many absence because of mental and physical fatigue influences boss’s evaluation and tasks, a harassment boss makes a call to or visit directly subordinate’s family and tells prejudiced his/her cherished opinion and indicate a problem of a subordinate. In many cases, a harassment boss understands what kind of talk can arouse people’s sympathy, subordinate family is completely persuaded that a boss is very excellent but a subordinate is useless and a harassment boss preaches and persuades a subordinate to come to office like “your boss is worried very much about you, you are capable devoting yourself to a company. Do your best for your boss”. A subordinate is caught in a dilemma and resists family’s persuasion. Finally, this situation causes dysfunctional family.
  • A harassment boss never feel guilty in spite of driving a subordinate into a corner. Rather, he/she is truly a victim

    • A harassment boss tends to never accept mental disorder such as depression and think a person who suffers from this mental disorder is easily lack of self-reliance.
    • A harassment boss have made tremendous effort to worker harder than any other colleagues and study earnestly by him/herself so he/she has great confidence on what he/she says. His/her job knowledges are quite plentiful and exhibit high capability when working alone. A company gives a chance to get him/her to promote but there is prejudice in his/her communication skills that a company ignores. This ends up nipping possibility of young people’s potential.

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