TRITON SURVEY: Leadership
January 2014 C11
Ability, lack of experience are biggest barriers to being better SURVEY, from page C10 need to be a good leader? Almost all responding captains – 88 percent – said they do have the tools they need, chief among them experience and education. “I have some but listening and patience are the most difficult aspects of both leading and following,” said a captain in yachting more than 30 years. Other captains said the most influential tools came from outside. “A boss who understands the value of human resources,” said a captain in yachting more than 20 years. “A well-equipped vessel, crew open to my techniques, owner’s support,” said a captain in yachting more than 15 years. “The faith and confidence of the owner, including good sponsorship from the owner (ie: adequate budget, leeway to make the best decisions),” said another captain in yachting more than 15 years. “Support and trust from the owner to pick and train my crew to do things the way I feel fit,” said a captain in yachting less than 10 years. “Good crew,” said a captain of more than 15 years. Other tools include common sense, respect for crew, patience, a willingness to do all jobs, and an ability to listen. “I listen to individuals … their goals and aspirations as well as their concerns and worries,” said a captain of more than 10 years. “My role is to lead from the front, not asking others to do what I can’t.” “Patience, attentiveness, willingness to step up and do the right (or the most right) thing, even when it may not be the most popular at the time,” said a captain in yachting more than 20 years. “I believe you must lead by example, a true leader cannot be a hypocrite.” “Patience, a cool head, and the ability to criticize myself if I mess up or make a mistake,” said a captain in yachting more than 25 years. “The tools are available for the taking and learning by everyone,” said a captain in yachting more than 15 years. “It is a matter of opening up one’s mind and ears, as well as seeking out advice from established and successful leaders (following certain people on LinkedIn, for example).” Most of those who acknowledged that they don’t have the tools attribute that to the budget or program of the vessel. One took a more philosophical approach. “Leadership is a state of mind, a perceived power that compels others to follow, remain loyal, and serve even under adverse conditions,” said a captain in yachting more than 30 years. “Tools? There are no tools involved.” We wanted to look more closely at this idea that captains might not have what they need to be successful, so
we asked What do you think is the biggest barrier to yacht captains’ ability to lead their crew more successfully? More than half of captains noted that their own abilities (or lack of training in those abilities) is the biggest barrier to being a better captain. “Sometimes our own insecurities or shortcomings or inability to admit being wrong or not actually knowing how to do something creates a roadblock to success,” said the captain of a yacht 120-140 feet in yachting more than 10 years. “Be honest, ask your own questions. You are still the leader.” “Ability or lack of training coupled with a lack of interest in changing their present management style (or lack thereof); in other words, denial,” said a captain in yachting more than 30 years. “Recognizing the problem is the first
step in solving it.” “Not enough captains do a proper apprenticeship these days, i.e. they don’t have the depth of experience to run or understand crew,” said the captain of a yacht larger than 220 feet in yachting more than 30 years. “Most young captains let the first officer run the boat and you end up with a case of the blind leading the blind.” “Way too many captains never look in the mirror,” said a captain in yachting more than 30 years. “They blame their owner, their crew, their contractors and can never figure out why things are always so difficult.” The next largest group, almost a quarter of respondents, opted for “other” and noted that it was experience that most poor captains lacked. “Having tickets but not the
experience and time on the water,” said the captain of a yacht 160-180 in yachting more than 30 years. “Every guy should learn how to sail and also learn to drive single-screw boats with no thrusters in wind and tidal situations.” “A lack of a desire to lead, and rather a desire to be the boss,” said a captain in yachting more than 20 years. “They are not the same.” About 14 percent noted that their leadership ability was hindered by the crew’s willingness to follow. “Lack of respect from the crew as a result of an ego and/or insecurity issue,” said a captain in yachting more than five years. A few captains blamed the owner or management company for poor
See LEADERSHIP, page C12
Monthly publication with news for captains and crew on megayachts.