“Getting to know the people on board, and them us, is so important. You can’t motivate people unless you learn to know them first!” says Team Leader Crew TMS Rita Andreassen upon her return to Arendal from a teambuilding session in Aberdeen with Mariner B personnel.
“Finding the time for regular face to face meetings is essential for nurturing the relationship so that everyone, whether they’re on board of ashore, feel like they’re valued and important members of the team. I try to bridge the gap between the people on board and ashore as much as possible.”
We met with Andreassen right before she set sail for an after-work teambuilding event, this time with the offshore crewing colleagues. As one of the Team Leaders for crewing in OSM Norway, she is perfectly aware of the hectic and sometimes challenging schedules that is typical for an organization that aims to deliver top quality services to a growing pool of seafarers.
“Knowing this makes it even more important to find time for informal meetings, which can help lower the threshold for open communication and good conversations.”
There are obviously many ways of getting a group of people to work effectively as a team, although the same recipe isn’t necessarily applicable for all, Andreassen believes that there are some key characteristics that can easily be transferred to all teams:
“Good communication is critical. Lessons learned from teams that show optimal performance over time, reveal that the key success factors often come down to close and effective communication. By providing regular communication opportunities, such as weekly skype meetings combined with regular visits on board and face to face crew meetings, we can deal with issues in an early phase. This allows for resolving problems at a low level, reducing the chance of escalation,” she says.
Ever since OSM saw the light of day back in 1989, the company has built its business around the people and the value of creating strong teams. Establishing a good team is a great start, but the real challenge is often to maintain a constructive team spirit in the long run. Andreassen notes that leading by example is an important guideline.
“It is also essential to acknowledge that we all have unique strengths and differences. Each team member brings their own set of skills and assets to the table. Knowing this helps realize the team’s full potential. Finally, we know for a fact that teams that share the same values and are well informed about the long-term objectives for the organization are more likely to succeed, so my objective going forward is to keep preparing the ground for sustainable team performance.”