Write to be Heard: Modern times call for modern training

Jan 28, 2014 by Guest Writer

The survey you held for the quality of leadership and management skills in the yachting industry was very interesting [“Level of leadership depends on viewpoint,” page C1, January issue].

From a worldview outside of the maritime environment, it is hard to know if one is a good manager, which is why many large companies now do 360-degree performance evaluations to assist in determining the viewpoint from each level of employee. This is helpful in determining a method to improve teamwork, leadership, management, etc.

From an overall maritime viewpoint, it was determined by the IMO that, in fact, this was an area that needed improvement. In yachting, many of our captains have been captains for a long time and have worked their way up from captains of smaller yachts to captains of larger yachts.

Many also have been business people in former lives as well, perhaps giving them an experiential advantage.

This is a contrast to other parts of the maritime industry and, for that matter, contrary to the experiences that future yacht captains may have as well. In the past, yachts were smaller, crews were smaller. Fewer people started out on very large vessels, working their way up from rating (i.e. deckhand) to officer to captain.

In those days, many captains went from being in command of an 80-foot boat to a 130 to 200, etc. They developed management and leadership skills accordingly, from small crews to larger crews.

Now, though, someone who is a deckhand on a 70m boat and then moves up to OOW and then chief mate and then captain has to learn the leadership and management for the deck crew as OOW and then for the entire vessel as captain. This is true for the engineers and the chief stews as well.

Where have they had training for this? Nowhere, until now. Setting egos aside, every organization operates better for everyone when the leaders and managers are good at their job.

That is where the new HELM courses come it. They are offered in two levels: Operational for mid-level managers and Management for masters and chief officers. These courses are ideally suited to complement the experience they obtain onboard or through other jobs they have had in the past.

The Human Element Leadership & Management course is part of the new STCW amendments for both operational- and management-level certificates.

It is intended that over the course of their career, officers will take both courses. The first is intended to introduce the upcoming officer to the leadership and teamwork skills required to supervise a crew and conduct the type of mid-level management done by operational officers such as assistant engineers and officers of the watch, both on deck and in engineering.

This first level, operational, is like an extension on a BRM (bridge resource management) course. In the MCA system, it takes the place of ERM and BRM; in the USCG system, it will be required in addition to the BRM and ERM. This course takes one to three days, depending on flag.

The second level is the HELM management-level course designed to complement the first course by training the manager in upper-level management and leadership skills. This course presents interactive scenarios and situations to learn from.

It is a busy five-day course at MPT. We are fortunate that the author of the program is also the lead instructor, and we have had rave reviews so far. This level will be the same for both USCG and MCA and for both chief /second engineers as well as chief mates and masters.

While this is not an MBA program, it is a perfect add-on to the training these officers obtain now.

Most captains do not have time to attain a graduate-level college degree in management or leadership. These courses are designed specifically for the maritime industry and the unique management requirements related to our industry, such as assessments, crew mentoring, international regulations, multicultural/24-hour living and working conditions, etc.

We are excited about this course and thrilled that the PYA has recommended it as part of the curriculum for the heads of department/chief stew for the interior department as well as for engineers and deck officers.

I feel these courses will satisfy the missing formal training link in management that we have all been talking about for many years.

Amy Morley Beavers

Vice president of regulatory compliance

Maritime Professional Training

Ft. Lauderdale


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