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Top 10 Management Must-Dos for Captains

May 3rd 11
By Dr. Bob Preziosi

1.       Hire crew for their values. Once a captain knows that a person has the right experience, s/he should look for congruent values in the new hire. Employees will be much more committed to their job and the vessel if they share the same core values.


2.       Provide a complete orientation. When a new crewmember joins the boat, he or she must be told everything up front. Keep a running list of things to help new crewmember adapt to work and the boat environment. Personally introduce new crewmembers to every other crewmember and give them a chance to get to know one another.


3.       Provide service parameters. Every captain has minimum expectation requirements. These may be such things as efficiency, pleasantness and a willingness to do whatever it takes to accommodate owners and guests. Leave nothing to chance. Cover all the basics with new hires and remind current crewmembers of expectations.


4.       Continuously build your team. A team environment makes the vessel a great place to work and helps people develop an immediate framework for solving conflicts that may arise.


5.       Get the best from each crewmember. This, of course, directs attention to the motivation of the crew by combining positive reinforcement and recognition. This is never overdone, but almost always not done enough. Captains must consciously think about reinforcement and recognition so when the opportunity presents itself, s/he will say the appropriate thing. Captains must pay careful attention to spread this around among the entire crew. This can be accomplished by spending personal time with each crewmember from time to time.

6.       Exemplify respect. Crewmembers should be treated with a sense of dignity. Captains must learn to be tolerant of individual differences and deal with them in the appropriate manner. The crew will be respectful if they see  captain acting with respect.


7.       Help your crew deal with pressure. The work on a yacht requires people to handle pressure well. While every vessel and crew is different, this formula is good to keep in mind: A well built team will help each other handle pressure and any problem that arises very quickly and will try to work at a pace that keeps them focused but not overextended. Crew must make time to relax for a few minutes a couple of times each day to keep mentally and physically sharp. Dealing well with pressure is sure to enhance the safety factor, which is of utmost importance.


8.       Keep your leadership fine-tuned. Develop the confidence that others have in you by being consistent and reliable, knowing that there may be times when you have to become creative. Always be willing to take on new responsibilities that can grow out of your normal activities. Remember to focus on people as much as the task. Always accept surprises.


9.       Provide training. Be it on board in the form of a mentorship program or off the boat at a training facility, training not only allows crew to become better at their job, but also gives them job security and a reason to stay on board.


10.   Teamwork. Though said before, teamwork is on this list twice because, ultimately, it is one of the most important things a captain can foster on board his vessel. Another way to think about teams is to consider the value in building a high performance team. These are teams that excel above others because they have worked through all their challenges and have arrived at the pinnacle of team performance, which means they produce better quality and quantity into their work.


Dr. Bob Preziosi,, is a professor at the Huizenga Business School at NOVA South Eastern University in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. Contact him to learn about the 12 characteristics of a high performance team. He also has written two upcoming e-books: TeamNow: A Resource Manual for Team Leaders and TeamNow: A Resource Manual for Team Members.


Related Topics:

Symbiotic Relationship: Newbies and Seasoned Crew 

The X Factor 


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