How many times have you heard a captain say, “If it weren’t for dealing with crew this would be a great job”? My response to this is: it is because of crew that I am still energised and look forward every day to working with my crew and helping them on their way to a brighter and better career.
How can we change the attitude of captains and help correct the biggest problem in yachting? How can we start to turn the tide and make crew the solution to a great yachting experience for owners instead of being their largest complaint and main reason for getting out of yachting?
The answer is to convince captains, especially more seasoned captains, to be better mentors and exceptional leaders. I feel that so many captains see their job as the person in the wheelhouse that doesn’t need to put much effort into mentoring, training and educating crew because they can just pick up the phone and call the crew agencies to get a replacement if they are unhappy with a crewmember. Instead, if that captain spent time with that crewmember to understand them better, find out what the problems are and show them the way to solve those problems, what would that accomplish? I can tell you first hand that you most likely will end up with a dedicated, loyal crewmember who will also be a great ambassador to owners and will support you as captain and other crewmembers, helping in more ways than you know.
Being creative and proactive in dealing with crew is a part of the leadership that needs to be addressed by all captains, especially those of us that have been in the industry for years. And to all of the younger, less-seasoned captains, I would like to suggest that they seek out senior captains who are willing to help them learn and understand some of the leadership practices that have helped them be successful with crew retention and team building. Asking for help is never easy in this business but if we try to share our knowledge more, it will only serve to enhance our industry.