Leadership Matters

Running a yacht is no easy feat. You lead the charge of at least 4 crew members (deck, galley, engineering department and interior department). This requires you delegate, instruct and oversee the success of service.  If you want to be a good leader follow these 4 steps.

Lead by example:

Ever heard the saying “Do as I say not as I do.” Parents often underestimate how susceptible their children’s impressionable minds are to influence. So if a toddler sees a parent shouting at the television, displeased by something; the child will imitate the behavior and not the parent saying, "you must never lose your patience". Similar are crew members led by their Head of Department (Hod). If you are in a position of power; tasked with leading a group of people you have to be careful that your actions do not contradict your words. It is a sure way to lose the trust and respect of your crew. If you say something stick to it, if you do something stand by your action. Lead firmly or your crew will surely walk all over you.

A productive team works on consistency. If you want things done a certain way say what you mean and mean what you say. You can’t expect your galley hands or stewards to perform tasks in a certain way but you, then, cut corners. Be a role model to your crew. Present yourself as a type of yacht worker to aspire to, making sure to support and guide your crew when need be.


Lead with a vision:

Ever considered creating a mission statement? Like a set of goals to incentivize your crew. It wouldn’t have to be anything too complicated. Perhaps, ‘Just for today I will commit to serving with a smile and a positive attitude,’ or, ‘Carry more today so tomorrow’s load be a little lighter,’ in a manner of getting your crew to put in an extra effort every day.

By setting small achievable goals, you inspire your crew to do their best. When those goals are reached the crew is excited and keen to improve or outdo themselves. Having a vision for yourself and your crew fosters an environment of healthy competition. But it is important that the environment you generate, and the relationship you have with your crew members be one that will bring out the best in each one of them.

Your crew needs to be able to count on you. There is nothing more unsettling than being led by someone who doesn’t know where they are going. Setting up a list of goals or a mission statement will help keep you and your crew motivated and accountable. If anyone steps out of line and is reprimanded then, if it his in accordance to the shared vision of the yacht crew, there will be less chance of back chat or a negative attitude.

Lead with confidence:

People can sense fear. We are sensitive to each others feelings of nervousness and anxiety. You won’t be doing yourself any favors by being a timid, uncertain and an indecisive leader.

The crew you lead require discipline and structure. At moments of crisis or confusion your crew need to know that you will be the voice of reason; that you can restore order when stress and emotions are running high. Passengers need to be assured that they are taken care of.

If you aren’t confident in yourself or your abilities to lead how can you expect anyone else to be?


Lead with humility:

It takes a big person to admit when they’re wrong. It takes a BIG person to admit when they’re wrong. So often we don’t because we think that it is a sign of weakness when in actual fact it’s the complete opposite.

You’re human; you are going to make mistakes. When you do own up to them. You might misinform a crew member; leading them to damage equipment that costs thousands. Or you could scold a crew member unfairly because you weren’t given all the information. If this happens respect your crew members enough to apologies. They won’t gang up on you, neither will they suddenly become insubordinate. If anything they will respect you more for humbling yourself instead of remaining on your high horse. Your crew understands what kind of pressure you’re under but you only work to further isolate yourself from them if you don’t communicate appropriately.

The most effective leaders are the ones who relate to and identify with their teammates.

You were green once, take it easy on the rookie who’s on his first job.

Having said that don’t cross the professional line. HoDs confuse their crew because one minute they’re chummy and the next they are ruthlessly cracking the whip. It’s lonely at the top but rather your crew respect you. Being overly familiar will comeback in the form of crew undermining your authority and slacking because they know, ‘you’re cool.’ Do not allow this to happen. In the same breath avoid being tyrannical because your crew won’t give you their best efforts.


If you follow these simple instructions you will be well on your way to becoming the best leader for your crew, and leading the best team for your yacht.