Otsuka People Talk

August 2017

Group Leader, Department of Clinical Management Headquarters of Clinical Development

My idea of a great leader used to be someone who truly excelled in their field and guided others, but I now understand that they also need to focus on how to get the best out of their team members.

An interview with a group leader who transferred from a research position to work more closely with clinicians, and is now coming into his own as a team leader.

A domestic study exchange became a turning point

I started basic research when I was at college; this continued when assigned to work in Otsuka's research facilities-meaning that up until that point I didn't work with people as such at all. It was when I was on a domestic study exchange that I first had the opportunity to work closely with doctors, and it was this experience that taught me what medical practice is actually all about.

After returning to the research facilities I started my basic research again. However, my clinical experience had changed something in me, and I started to feel that I wanted to continue my work somewhere where I could be more directly involved with clinical medicine. It was then that I asked to be transferred to work in development.

My manager at the time was very understanding and supportive, and taught me what working in development would entail. They gave me the push that I needed to make the transfer to my new position.

Working in development

The first role I had in the development field was monitoring Parkinson's disease and restless legs syndrome-work that was focused on guaranteeing the quality of clinical trial data. It involved visiting hospitals to meet with doctors to exchange information and data. This was a complete change from my previous job where my research had revolved around databases, cells, and laboratory mice. This new position taught me that doctors have different approaches depending on the field they work in, and that doctors themselves are a very diverse group of people.

Taking responsibility for planning

After working in development for a year my manager suggested that I should take more responsibility for planning, rather than guaranteeing the quality of data. I saw this as an opportunity, and although I was nervous I accepted the challenge, and was put in charge of implementing clinical trials.

When you are in this position you are the one that is ultimately responsible for the trial, and naturally I did have some concerns about taking on this important role.

Creating an environment that is easy to work in

I am currently in charge of two areas in the field of central nervous system diseases.
Each disease area has a person in charge, and my role is to work with them as their leader. I think that anybody who becomes a manager or a leader has the same thought when they first get put in that position: "I'm sure it would be faster if I did it myself!" I now know that this is not the case, and instead I try to focus on helping each of them perform at their best. I realize the importance of creating an environment that makes it easier for all team members to do their own work, rather than directly taking on the work myself. I now think that the ideal leader is someone who can guide their team members so they start to think this way too, and this is exactly the kind of team leader that I strive to be.

A message for job seekers

Job hunting is just a momentary phase in your life, and no matter what you've done up until this point there is so much more waiting for you. I hope that you can approach job hunting with a positive attitude, and seize the opportunity to grow as a person. Being proud about what you have done so far and thinking carefully about your future is very important, but it isn't everything. If you aren't prepared to open your mind and absorb new opportunities your world will end up being very small, so I do hope that you will always be open to take on new challenges and broaden your horizons.