Top 10 Management Must-Dos for Captains

3 May 2011 By Bob Preziosi

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

2.      Provide a complete orientation. When a new crewmember joins the boat, he or shemust 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 minimumexpectation requirements. These may be such thingsas efficiency, pleasantness and a willingness to do whatever it takes toaccommodate owners and guests. Leave nothing to chance. Cover all thebasics 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 andhelps people develop an immediate framework for solving conflicts that mayarise.

5.      Get the best from each crewmember. This, of course, directs attention to themotivation of the crew by combining positive reinforcement andrecognition. This is never overdone, but almost always not done enough. Captains must consciously think about reinforcement and recognition so when theopportunity presents itself, s/he will say the appropriate thing. Captainsmust 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 themin the appropriate manner. The crewwill 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 builtteam will help each other handle pressure and any problem that arises veryquickly and will try to work at a pace that keeps them focused but notoverextended. Crew must make time to relax for a few minutes a couple of timeseach day to keep mentally and physically sharp. Dealing well with pressure issure to enhance the safety factor, which is of utmost importance.

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

9.      Provide training. Be it on board in the form of a mentorship program or off theboat at a training facility, training not only allows crew to become better attheir 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 hisvessel. Another way to think about teams is to consider the value in building ahigh performance team. These are teams that excel above others because theyhave worked through all their challenges and have arrived at the pinnacle ofteam performance, which means they produce better quality and quantity intotheir 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 ResourceManual for Team Members.

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