You’re only as good as your crew, and your crew are a reflection of you. It is important to keep this in mind when onboarding, training and upskilling employees. Too much information at once can be as dangerous as too little… remember your first day at any job and how overwhelming it can be. When dealing with new crew members, time is not on your side. But there is an upside. Often, we hear that the younger generation these days are too soft, not willing to work, or a multitude of other excuses. In our experience, this younger generation is as adept, willing, and eager to get ahead as any generation before. The only difference is your attitude towards them and your ability to be a good leader. Here are five ways you can be a better leader and steer your team to success:
Be patient: The hardest thing I have found is standing back and letting them get on with it. You know you can do a better job. But somewhere along the way, they must be given the opportunity to try. Individuals learn by doing, even if that means failing. Some of the most important memorable lessons come from mistakes.
Believe in them: Whilst the concept of an entirely new crew can be concerning, we have found that they are as keen and eager and, given the right training, are as competent as any previous generation. In fact, we have a lot of faith in this new generation of seafarers. Show them that you believe in them by giving them opportunities to be independent, learn and grow.
Be a role model: Your attitude affects safety onboard. Your crew and passengers need to have absolute confidence in you for their safety. Anyone who has ever been in a stressful and dangerous situation knows that everything starts with leadership. Your crew and staff will mimic your actions, think twice about the behaviours you are exampling to them.
Communicate: Often and carefully. Depending on the content, it may be best to talk to an individual one-on-one or put signs up as reminders. As a team, it's easier to hold regular meetings such as Training and drill reviews, updates on Health and Safety concerns, sharing passenger feedback, and more. We encourage all those in leadership positions to consider the best way to deliver a piece of information so that it is interpreted correctly, understood, and actioned if necessary. Some scenarios may require talking, whereas others may be best suited to an email, text or phone call, and it is important to distinguish which is which to gain the respect of your crew. If a crew member is giving you that ‘blank’ look, then it may be you who needs to work on your communication skills. Rarely you may need to raise your voice to compete with the sounds of the environment to deliver a necessary safety instruction.
Learn from them: remember that with their youth, they may bring fresh perspectives and knowledge that could teach you a thing or two. Utilise social occasions to ask them questions about their background, experience and interests to build better relationships. This also allows them to ask questions in a more relaxed, laid-back environment.
Remember this… at some point, someone, somewhere, gave you a chance, showed you what to do and took the time to teach you. Now it’s your turn. At SeaLogs we're all about enhancing leadership via providing the tools to help you execute regular and thorough Crew Training and Drills. Sign up for our free trial today, just click here. You'll be so pleased you did.
Captain Maurice P.