Management is essential for successful operation of a vessel. A good management team can generate good results and a good working environment. Fundamentally, management is about getting crew to do the work needed to make the ship operate in the best possible way.
- Managers have human understanding
- Managers create trust
- Managers deal with conflicts
- Managers delegate
- Managers are consistent under pressure
- Guide: A Good Working Life at Sea
But what is it that makes some managers especially successful? This is a widely discussed subject at sea and ashore.
In addition to being professionally competent and a good seaman, there are five things that characterise a good manager on board:
- Managers read and understand human relations and have empathy.
- They are interested in the atmosphere on board.
- They are alert to interpersonal relations and act if people do not thrive.
- They focus on generating a high level of trust on board.
- They listen carefully and ask questions that are seen as helpful.
- They give good advice and make specific proposals for solutions to day-to-day problems.
- They show confidence in employees, encourage development and help find solutions without being asked to.
- They give top priority to being physically available to employees and ensure that they are visible.
- They quickly tackle unpleasant, critical matters in a constructive way.
- They confront staff and other people in the event of discrepancies between what is said and actually done.
- They say what they expect from crew and those around them in a clear, motivational way.
- They are clear about goals, frameworks and allocating responsibility for duties on board.
- They challenge defensive work cultures by insisting on crew taking responsibility.
- They do not take-over responsibility and duties that have been assigned to employees or other people.
- They do change the allocation of responsibility if the situation makes it necessary or appropriate.
- They stick to important principles and attitudes with respect to crew, the company, superiors, customers and others.
- They openly defend vulnerable people despite widespread resistance from those around them.
- They are sufficiently courageous or stand by their principles to react in critical situations on the basis of their convictions rather than following established principles.
A Good Working Life at Sea
In the Good management aboard section in A Good Working Life at Sea a broad range of seamen say what they feel about good shipboard leadership.
You can also read about five core competencies for the successful manager. These are not the only skills a good manager needs. But these five skills are so apparent in the selected managers that they can be considered a vital foundation for successful management.
In this part you will also be presented with a series of important questions about creating unanimity in ship's management and questions aimed at considering one's own role as a manager.
The book also gives advice to leaders on: