Ask Bugsy! No kid gloves for the captain’s loveJul 27, 2022 by Chief Stew Bugsy Drake
Our captain has a new girlfriend and he recently brought her on board as a first-time deckhand. She is slow at picking things up, and the other deckhands have to cover for her. As bosun, I would normally be pressing her a bit to step it up and carry her share of the load. But I am hesitant to have those conversations with her, knowing she will be venting any frustrations she has to the captain — my boss! It’s really awkward! Do you have any suggestions?
—Bosun in a Bind
Hi Bosun in a Bind,
I realize this situation is not great, but you need to understand you’re in a leadership position. You need to step up and lead your team. As the saying goes, with great power comes great responsibility. You have a duty to yourself and the rest of the crew to try your best to work professionally and keep any form of drama out of it.
There are a couple of different ways to approach this situation. First, have a chat with your chief officer. As your head of department, it is important for him to understand your frustrations. It’s also crucial that you’re on the same page, as he can further support your case if it ever turned messy or went to the captain.
I suggest you take a direct approach by explaining to your deckhand that she needs to pull her weight and share the load. Be firm but kind, and remember motivation is key in this type of situation. Maybe assign her jobs that she excels at and tasks on the work list that highlight her strengths.
Remember, it’s important for the entire team that you set clear goals, hold each deck member accountable, and give praise for jobs done well and constructive feedback on areas that need improvement. If none of this works, have a one-on-one with the captain and explain your reservations about the current situation. Stress that you want what is best for the team. One of the biggest detriments to the work ethic of a team is the favoritism of a particular team member. A captain with good leadership skills should always be fair and extremely approachable. You are in the bosun position for a reason, and the captain should trust and rely on you to have fair judgment when it comes to leading your team. This is business, at the end of the day. If she’s going to take it personally and the captain is not going to hear you out, it will likely end up making you miserable in a job you might otherwise love. Hopefully, it will all work out!
IN HER EIGHT-YEAR CAREER ON YACHTS AND TWO SEASONS ON BRAVO TV’S BELOW DECK MEDITERRANEAN, CHIEF STEW BUGSY DRAKE HAS PROVED THAT LEVEL-HEADED LEADERSHIP IS HER FORTÉ. IN A BIND? NEED SOME ADVICE? ASK BUGSY! EMAIL CREW@TRITONNEWS.COM.