Leadership: Set an example
January 17, 2013
This is my inaugural blog for WorkBoat.com. As you
can surmise from the blog title, it is all about safety. As a marine safety
specialist, I hope to provide you and your company with safety tips and
I am also a licensed master mariner. Like many of you,
I have worked for a diverse collection of masters as I progressed up the ranks.
Some have been legendary, for being a good or bad master.
Mariners that are confined on any vessel at sea wants
a captain that knows if you are dead or alive and that what you do makes a
difference. It sounds so simple as to be taken for granted. Each of us has worked
for an indifferent slug that appeared to not give a damn about us. If you have
not had such an experience, then consider yourself lucky.
We liked to see a captain that went out on deck,
maybe pitched in, or just wanted to see how we were doing. He would ask what
was going on and listened to what you might have to say. You learned to trust
each other. When you’re the captain you hear the damnedest things by just
Mr. Brownne was the janitor in corporate
headquarters at a tug company I worked at. He walked around every day emptying everyone’s
wastebasket. He knew what you were working on and all about your family. That
was in contrast to the CEO on the upper floor who probably had little idea who
I was or what I did. Mr. Brownne was a leader by walking around. The CEO missed
When I was commanding officer of a Navy ship, I
learned that nobody was going to die for you if they didn’t know you. In towboats
some masters and mates spend their entire hitch between the wheelhouse,
stateroom, head, and the galley refrigerator. The rest of the boat is foreign
territory. They have no idea about engineering or if the boat is clean or
dirty. The only time you see these guys is when they stick their head out of
the wheelhouse and curse at you. Leadership really counts during the last minutes
of a crisis.
Get your heads out of the refrigerator and walk
around. You’ll know your crew and boat better, and your body fat will be
reduced for your next license renewal.
That’s the difference between a good captain and a