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The Social Responsible Maritime Leader in the Post Covid-19 Era

The world will not be the same in the post  Covid-19 period  as we return to our daily life as  we knew it before the pandemic.  The  direct experience of the pandemic, the lockdown, the social isolation and the disruption of our daily lives,   has forevermore   altered and transformed  our perspectives on fundamental areas of our lives; safety,  health, work, financial security, our  future. The pandemic has already changed the way we work; remote working,  digital participation, while has made us more skeptical about systems’ readiness to effectively deal with global crises.  Although, it  may be too early to predict the long  lasting changes in workplace, social policies and lifestyle   we certainly know that we are swimming in unchartered waters as we are leaving lockdowns and returning to normalcy. 

Around the globe,  companies  are  adopting strategies that reflect corporate- social citizenship  as an increasing number of people  identify with companies that  are  committed to have a  positive social and environmental impact. During the pandemic,  we all witnessed   a number of companies  changing their attitudes on safety and wellness either by modifying production lines to  manufacture ventilators, masks or medical equipment needed or  just offer  support  to frontline personnel .  How will the pandemic impact the existing trends? 

As businesses resume   leaders  need to quickly address the challenges and priorities of workplace in  the post pandemic period in terms of  two key elements : preparedness and resilience.  How will these crucial issues be addressed  during the post pandemic period will constitute the  building blocks of  reinventing leadership and management systems. The shipping industry heavily structured by  standardized systems  of operations and leadership,  needs to  reflect on the  adaptability and resiliency of their  management systems in dealing with crisis as they develop .   We are all experiencing  an unprecedented crisis,  and  at critical times like these  solidarity , secure relationships and integrity are indispensable values to  guide our actions.

Recently  Mr. Kaloulis, Managing Director of our affiliated company K.A.IMS,    organized the repatriation of a seven member technician crew stranded at sea  during the pandemic crisis while borders and flights were closing down .   It was a challenging 72 hour operation  before the crew could return safely home; as we  debriefed the process in the days  that followed,  we all learned a valuable lesson: the key element  to the triumph of the operation  was communication:  sincere, supportive and caring communication because  “ At a time of crisis people need to know the facts to feel safe ”

Based on our experience we devised  a  communication model which we would like to share with you today:

F   O   C   U    S

F- frank communication based on facts.   At  times of crisis people need to rely on facts in order to feel safe .  Integrity,  honesty and accountability  are key elements to   frank communication .  

O- open  communication  entails that people  have access to information,  resources, updates, actions taken  etc.  Establishing a two way communication flow based on transparency . People in crisis need to voice their concerns, worries and fears and know the “truth” not “fake news”.

C- consistent  communication  states that :  We are here and  in an ongoing relationship;  Consistent communication is based on presence, trustworthiness and dependability. Our actions are consistent with our words.  A person in crisis needs  a leader  who is trustworthy reliable and present.

U- understanding   requires that we are empathic by actively listening  to issues concerns or worries as they are voiced ;  being empathic communicates  genuine care and concern for the other person

S- supportive requires that we listen,  validate  and empower people by actively directing our efforts and actions towards resolution ; by fostering an alliance towards working together to deal with the situation.

As we reflected further to identify what each step requires we realize that communication is a complex process and in  an industry that heavily relies on a standardization model of leadership , regulating a communication model that can be both adaptable and flexible can be the cornerstone of system’s preparedness in dealing with critical situations . 

In  2019, the Business Roundtable declared that businesses need to invest on  purpose that serves society at large and not just generates profits.  Today as our values, views and attitudes are being challenged by  the pandemic period, societal solidarity and social responsibility  become more significant than ever.  Empathy , compassion and sincerity  are words that are vibrating and  transcending our  meaning  of humanity . These are the very  powerful  words that will be reinventing businesses and bridging  people across cultural , racial, social, economic , geographical   disparities.

Successful organizations will depend on leaders who possess the skills of empathy, compassion, honesty  and integrity  to  build strong relationships, motivate and lead teams and  adapt  to changes all of which embody  key elements of a resilient human system in the workplace.

F   O   C   U    S

 

 

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