The Triton


Effective leadership highlights genuine influence over power


I’m going to guess that most of you reading this article are impacted in some way by the new STCW requirements mandating a leadership class either for yourself or someone you know.
You may have even heard a few negative things about the classes from people who have taken one. And perhaps this has dissuaded you from taking a leadership course yourself or swayed your opinion about what you’ll encounter before stepping foot in a classroom.
There’s not much I can do about preconceived notions regarding classes, but good leadership training can help you learn about yourself, your team and your organization.
Leadership training is for everyone, not only for the top people in an organization. Effective leadership happens at all levels. Here are 10 benefits of taking a leadership training class:
1. They teach valuable life skills. Leadership training courses can teach you not only skills for work, but skills you can use in everyday life.
2. Classes encourage introspection. Your success as a leader depends on who you are as a person. You’ll have opportunities to think deeply to consider previous actions and behaviors. Greater self-awareness helps us understand our personal motivations and other qualities that drive our actions.
3. They surround you with other leaders. If nothing else, during the classes you’ll get the opportunity to network with other captains and crew.
4. Learn about leadership. This is kind of obvious, but leadership training programs fundamentally examine the elements of leadership and what makes it different from management. Take the information and apply it in your daily life.
5. They teach you how to influence people. Leadership training courses show the difference between the use of power, authority and genuine influence. This includes methods of motivation and personal engagement. They also help you discriminate between good and bad sources of power, and between strong and weak methods of influence.
6. They help you focus your vision. Successful leaders see where they want to go and focus on how to get there. Leadership training gives you the chance to step back from your daily responsibilities and think about how the future may unfold. You’ll learn how to communicate your vision to your crew in a way that truly motivates and inspires.
7. They teach you how to build a team. You’ll gain insights on how to pick the best members to make a good team, how to build a team capable of delivering what the boss needs and how to be a leader without coming off as either too weak or too overbearing.
8. They teach you how to avoid mistakes. Training will give you an idea of the types of mistakes you can make as a leader. It will also help you map out a plan for avoiding trouble that can end or severely hinder your leadership career.
9. They help lead at a higher level. Most captains have never taken classes that teach them how to run an organization. Because of this, the information they’re exposed to helps focus new ideas on organizational areas in need of improvement.
10. Become inspired. Leadership training courses often use real life examples relevant to class participants. Those real life examples have the added benefit of encouraging and building enthusiasm in students, which leads to feeling re-energized for their work.
If you let them, leadership training classes will enable you to become better at what you do.
Classes are designed to challenge your thinking and help you become more conscious about your behavior.
Take the time and put in the effort to create insight from the material you cover in your classes and you’ll find your effort to be worth it.
The ability to lead effectively isn’t based solely on technical skills. Leadership is fundamentally based on non-technical skills, which anyone can develop. Consciously develop these competencies, no matter your position or rank and you’ll be seen as a leader.

A former first officer, Paul Ferdais is founder and CEO of The Marine Leadership Group. Contact him through

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One thought on “Effective leadership highlights genuine influence over power

  1. Alene

    Paul, as usual you are spot on. Working here at MPT, I often hear crew bemoaning the fact that they are required to take training now, and spend the money to do it. But leadership and managment skills are SO important. Most captains and heads of departments get moved up the chain of command because they are so good at their jobs and natural leaders, but that does not make them good managers.

    I am so lucky that stews who take my managment course at MPT are almost always there because they want to be. My class is structured to build up their managing and delegating skills. Many times a second stews is being promoted to chief stew because she is so good at service, time managment, and leading by example. But crewmembers are very seldom taught how to manage. This is a big learning curve.

    It is one thing to be a good leader and set an example, quite another to manage other crew. I hope that crew will embrace the idea of your training and I really hope the owners will see the value of this as well.

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