Satoru Kobayashi, a 25-year-old computer programmer, had made smooth progress through life, with good grades from good schools. He had always been an introvert, though, with few friends, so his job as a programmer at a foreign-affiliated software manufacturing company suited him well.

For three years, Kobayashi (not his real name) worked mostly alone. He liked it that way. But his world started to crumble when he was promoted.

His new position forced him to work with four subordinates. Because he lacked communication skills and was too much of a perfectionist to delegate work to others, Kobayashi often found himself correcting the mistakes of his subordinates without telling them. That spelt an end to teamwork, and it wasn't long before his workers started ignoring him, leaving him to do all the work.