C January 2014 TRITON SURVEY: Leadership
Captains, should leadership skills Crew, should leadership skills be be required for a license? required for a license?
Captains, do you teach your crew? Crew, does your captain teach you? Yes, their job skills–17%
Yes — 90% Yes, everything I can–65%
Yes, the important things–10% Depends–5% No–3%
Depends Yes, Yes, everything. — 20% everything– Yes, the important things. Yes, our job skills. Depends Yes No, we learn if we pay at- our jobs– No, we learn tention if we pay Yes, attention the impor –50% things–
Leadership and/or management training should be a pa LEADERSHIP, from page C1 they acknowledged that it was mostly what they saw (more than half) and in comparison to other captains they had worked for. “He lacks discipline for the crew so the crew takes advantage of his ‘slackness’,” said a stew new to yachting. “He doesn’t make decisions; he lets the first officer or chief engineer make them.” “There is something about how you want to listen to and follow some captains, and others you don’t listen to as closely,” said a chef in yachting more than 10 years. “What is behind that?” Among their observations was evidence of good behavior and leaders, too. “He has a solid base of life experience and uses that to help crew relate to their roles in yachting,” said the first officer on a yacht 100-120 feet who considers the captain above average. “He leads by example. If it’s not something he wants his own crew doing, he doesn’t do it … or vice versa.” “Watching people change their behavior based on the captain’s example,” said the chef on a yacht 120140 feet. Those they thought were weak leaders were mostly because of poor communication skills. “Lack of communication, inability to deal with situations personally, and complete inability to take
responsibility for his errors and lack of judgment,” said the bosun on a yacht larger than 220 feet. “Was overall fair but occasionally was extremely unprofessional in communicating issues,” said the stew on a yacht 100-120 feet. It was interesting to note that some crew separated being a captain from being a leader. “He is a great captain, but not a leader for the crew,” said the chief stew on a yacht 120-140 feet. “Very mature, responsible seaman, but does not promote good communication aboard,” said the first officer of a yacht 140-160 feet. “He can, and has been tested throughout his yachting career on how to, drive a boat but he possesses no human interaction skills what-so-ever,” said the engineer of a yacht 180-200 feet. Considering that yachting generally doesn’t require leadership or management training to be hired – and that most captains saw themselves as above-average leaders – we were curious to know Where did you learn your leadership skills? The most common way was in some prior career but also from previous captains and owners. About 40 percent learned a lot from their peers. About a third chose “other” and noted that their leadership skills were learned from experience, a category we neglected to offer as an option. The haphazard method of learning leadership on
yachts begs the question: Should leadership skills be taught to those studying for a mariner’s license? Nearly three-quarters of the captains who took this survey said yes; 90 percent of crew said yes. “The individual’s leadership abilities (or lack thereof) have not, traditionally, been an important factor in selecting a person for the job as master,” said the captain of a yacht 160-180 in yachting more than 30 years. “Even today, too few owners and managers see the advantages in appointing a master who will build a strong team and then hold them together, season after season.” “Captains’ leadership capabilities are paramount,” said the captain of a yacht 80-100 feet in yachting more than 10 years. “Leadership and management training needs to be a structured part of a captain’s career development. It’s a continuous process that has no conclusion.” “A captain who has all the tickets in the world doesn’t necessarily make a good captain,” said a first officer in yachting less than 10 years. “I’ve encountered ones that have zero communication skills and they hide in their office. They also tended to manage ‘by the book’ when using common sense would have been best.” “I come from a military background and worked my way up to a fairly high position,” said
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