Working on ships is a “team effort”. A “one-man-show” cannot run the whole ship. In order to perform operations smoothly and safety on board ships, good interpersonal relationship among seafarers is a must.
As the number of people on board ships is limited, there are high chances of ego clashes and dissatisfaction among crew members. As important it is to avoid politics on ships, equally important it is to enhance interpersonal relationship between people on board to ensure that all jobs are done smoothly and safety.
Working on ships is not an easy task and dissatisfaction and demotivation can easily be developed among seafarers as a result of various kinds of stresses. (Learn how to fight stress on board ship here).
During such situation, it is the job of chief-engineer/chief officer/captain to get rid of discontentment among people on ship and instill the importance of interpersonal relationship.
As the number of people working on board is limited, everyone should try to know each other in order to understand the values, knowledge and skills each one has. This is the first step towards developing interpersonal relationship on board ships.
However, chief engineer/captain/chief officer should take additional steps as mentioned below to ensure that all team members are comfortable with each other both on and off work.
1. Morning meetings (Tool box meeting): The morning meeting, which is conducted to assign work to team members, is the best time to get all the crew members together. It is necessary that crew members talk to each other during such meetings and discuss their views and opinions.
Each member should be given a chance to provide suggestions regarding improvement of work process and safety precautions to be taken. This activity gives members a sense of responsibility and importance and also works a great deal in enhancing their performance and interpersonal relationship.
2. Tea-Breaks: Tea breaks if used efficiently can work wonders towards enhancing “team effort”. It should be made compulsory to get all crew members together during tea breaks to discuss the work in progress and other important things that they feel are necessary.
3. On board training sessions: On board training session is yet another important opportunity to get crew members together to impart important working knowledge or conduct safety committee meetings. Captain and chief engineer should arrange the meeting in such a way that maximum crew members are able to participate. Learn more about team meeting on board ships here.
4. Spending free time together: It is often seen that post working hours, officers and crew members spend time in their own rooms instead of getting together in officer or crew lounge. Watching movies and playing games in free time is a solid way to know each other and build great relationships both on and off work.
5. Arranging events/sports days: It is necessary to arrange recreational events or sports days which require crew members to participate in teams. This is a great way to inculcate the importance of team spirit and building interpersonal relationship among crew members. Find out more about sports played on board ships here.
6. Parties and Get-together: Everyone likes to party and unwind once in a while. Party is a great method to bond people together and improve scarred relationships on board ships. However, it is necessary that they are arranged in such a way that maximum crew is able to participate. Festival celebrations are also a great way to enhance interpersonal relationships between people onboard.
The above mentioned methods are some of the main ones that are used onboard to enhance relationships on board ships. Doing this would not only ensure smooth and safe operations of the ship but would also improve productivity and employment satisfaction.
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An ardent sailor and a techie, Anish Wankhede has voyaged on a number of ships as a marine engineer officer. He loves multitasking, networking, and troubleshooting. He is the one behind the unique creativity and aesthetics at Marine Insight.