After due warning, IMO has now written requirements for ‘assertion’, ‘leadership’ and ‘motivation’ into the STCW, They are to be found in Tables A II and III. These characteristics are deemed to be necessary for senior officers in the merchant fleet. Evaluations will be made and, if officers fail to demonstrate adequate assertiveness or leadership, their further promotion may well be jeopardised and their prospects for being disrated might be unavoidable.

What is leadership? It is difficult to define. I am told it is ‘an ability to do any job that the leader may require a member of his team to perform’. But it isn’t a very satisfactory definition: the master of a passenger ship would not attempt to remove a passenger’s appendix with the ship’s surgeon in attendance. Another is that ‘the leader must be able to get his team to do any job that has to be done regardless of the circumstances’. However the definition I prefer is that the leader must be able to get ‘the best out of his people’. Whilst the people assigned to the leader’s team might not be the best, by getting the best out of them, their leader might find that his team is entirely satisfactory. I like the idea of getting ‘the best out of one’s people’.

Full article, ELNAVI, Issue 467, November 2012, Page. 76

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