Managing yacht crew effectively is a skill that takes practice, and should be a requirement for all senior managers and captains. It can be a challenge to balance yacht crew with different personalities, various backgrounds, and communication styles. To prevent miscommunication and inefficiencies on board, here are some key management techniques that can make you a better leader and manager:
1. Centralize Communications
The better you are at communicating, the more effectively your crew can execute what needs to be done. First, hold regular crew meetings during a time when all crew naturally gather (i.e., every Monday during breakfast, lunch, tea time, etc). It’s a great way to open the lines of communication to discuss issues, processes, safety, and expectations. Second, have a central area for all major announcements or dates. This can be physical board in the crew mess, group text messages, or email…whatever works for your yacht! Find a preferred method that works for everyone so all crew are aware of important communication.
2. Give Constructive Feedback
Communicating feedback in a constructive way will be more productive than feedback given in haste or coming from a place of emotion. For example, when junior yacht crew performs something not up to standard, calmly communicate it by pointing out what they did well and what they can improve on. Feedback given when emotion is high will only increase tension on board, and managers should be aware of the example they are setting for their direct reports. The golden rule of “treat others as you would like to be treated” still applies when managing yacht crew.
3. Create An Onboarding Process
Ensure all newly hired crew know the yacht’s procedures and rules from day one, to prevent issues down the line. Create an onboarding process that is consistent for all new crew in order to get them up to speed quickly. Onboarding may include a checklist for safety, employment contracts, processes, standing orders, crew rules, hours of work/rest, schedules on/off charter, as well as departmental training by a senior crew member like a mate or chief stew.
What are some techniques that have worked for you in the past? Crew — what have previous captains done to make sure everything ran smoothly? Tell us below!