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Old 04-01-2011, 13:58   #1
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Becoming a Better Captain . . .

I'm not sure that this is the right sub-forum, but it's the best fit that I can see.

I was wondering if you folks might have recommendations or tips on where to learn more about being a better captain of a sailing vessel.

I don't mean being a better sailor, or knowing the rules of the road, or legal issues - I mean more learning about being in charge, being in command. Being "firm but fair" in disputes, and maintaining the crew's confidence. I'm sure that socially speaking taking a crew offshore for weeks at a time must lead to some awkward or even downright mutinous moments, especially if that crew are longtime friends!

What's the best piece of advice you ever received on being in command of a crew, keeping them happy and confident?

Alternately, are there books you'd recommend? I've read 'The Art Of War' many times, for instance, which is a big part of why I'm asking this in the first place...
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Old 04-01-2011, 14:05   #2
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The military are the only people that effectivly teach leadership.

If you can find an army leadership training manual on the internet, or maybe a second hand book store.

Then go racing


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Old 04-01-2011, 14:06   #3
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Lead by example....
Never ask someone to do something you'd not be prepared to do yourself... and if you won't/can't.. have the balls to say/admit why not....
Can't swim, Vertigo, scared shitless....
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Old 04-01-2011, 14:10   #4
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take some local night or cond. ed classes on leadership or Biz management. Most of it is learning how to deal with people. What type of personalties people have and how they best respond to directions etc. You then apply all of that to boat stuff.
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Old 04-01-2011, 14:25   #5
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Originally Posted by boatman61 View Post
Lead by example....
Never ask someone to do something you'd not be prepared to do yourself...
Thats about the only one I disagree with.

I have known many great leaders in buisness/life/military who won't be doing the job themselves.... Its never hurt them, nor me.

Me to Rigger: "Broken Fore Stay. You go up the mast and tell me whats wrong. I'm not going up a half broken mast".

Thats leadership.

The Rigger sent the young feller up first.

Leadership again.
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Old 04-01-2011, 14:31   #6
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[QUOTE=MarkJ;590538]Thats about the only one I disagree with.

I have known many great leaders in buisness/life/military who won't be doing the job themselves.... Its never hurt them, nor me.

Me to Rigger: "Broken Fore Stay. You go up the mast and tell me whats wrong. I'm not going up a half broken mast".

Thats leadership. Nope.. thats Money Talking.....

The Rigger sent the young feller up first.

Leadership again. Money sure Talks a lot....[/QUOTE]


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Old 04-01-2011, 14:48   #7
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Great Question!

I believe that competency; mastering all the requisite skills and having confidence in yourself and your vessel will lead to crew respect.

Being a patient tutor, maintaining calm and composure in crisis, or tricky situations will also command the respect of your crew.

Knowing the strengths and limitations of your crew and maintaining realistic expectations of them will help keep harmony. Personal disputes can always arise, a captain that can bend to the whims of a crew when it doesn't adversely affect the operation of the vessel will have a happier crew. ( Pick your battles)

The best piece of advice I've ever received with regard to leading, or changing bahaviors was:
" Assert Gentle pressure, relentlessly applied"
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Old 04-01-2011, 15:26   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by drew23 View Post
I'm not sure that this is the right sub-forum, but it's the best fit that I can see.

I was wondering if you folks might have recommendations or tips on where to learn more about being a better captain of a sailing vessel.

I don't mean being a better sailor, or knowing the rules of the road, or legal issues - I mean more learning about being in charge, being in command. Being "firm but fair" in disputes, and maintaining the crew's confidence. I'm sure that socially speaking taking a crew offshore for weeks at a time must lead to some awkward or even downright mutinous moments, especially if that crew are longtime friends!

What's the best piece of advice you ever received on being in command of a crew, keeping them happy and confident?
Have confidence in own abilities - mostly comes from experiance.......it rubs off on crew.

Select crew with great care, not only able as crew but willing to act as crew (don't mean following all orders unthinkingly, but not looking to undermine / 2nd guess the Skipper). I wouldn't make my first voyage with new crew a long one..........

Agree with crew before they leave port what is expected of them and from you - every boat / skipper / crew has differing norms / expectations / foibles..........don't assume, no matter how experianced the crew is.

Decide in advance what you would be willing to do if any (all? ) crew went all mutinous on your ass



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Alternately, are there books you'd recommend? I've read 'The Art Of War' many times, for instance, which is a big part of why I'm asking this in the first place...
The Art of War? LOL .........maybe then "Mutiny on the Bounty?"
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Old 04-01-2011, 15:35   #9
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Mark gave us the key word: “Leadership”.

I don’t know if any of the following will be helpful, but they may provide a starting place for further exploration:

http://www.nwlink.com/~donclark/leader/leader.html

Concepts of Leadership

Leadership Skills
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Old 04-01-2011, 15:41   #10
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Some of the best advise, give your crew confidence in you. By that, you need to know WHAT to do and WHEN to do it with no faltering on your part. The best way to ensure you can do this is PLAN everything. Then, you can tell them whats going to happen, etc. with confidence and they will detect that.

The other best thing I can think of is treat THEM with respect. If you go all 'shouty' and act like a sargant major, you may end up going for a swim!
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Old 04-01-2011, 16:02   #11
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I agree with the military training, but assuming that's outta the question...

How about coach some kids' sports? You'll be constantly challenged, relied upon, tested, required to make decisions, etc. Different ages challenge you in different ways.

Or you can have a kid or two of your own for some extended training...

I know many will disagree, but I don't think you can learn to be a leader from a book. You have to get out there and put yourself in leadership situations.

Oh yes, best bit of advice: Be fair, be consistent.
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Old 04-01-2011, 16:14   #12
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To some extent I question whether leadership is a teachable subject. I agree the military has the best handle on it but not everyone graduates. Having said that, I would recommend the two standards. The Book of Five Rings by Miyamoto Musashi, The Art of War by Sun Tzu, and my personal favorite, Leadership Secrets of Attilla the Hun by Wess Roberts. If memory serves, Roberts was actually an Air Force colonel.

The amazon links are:

Amazon.com: Leadership Secrets of Attila the Hun (9780446391061): Wess Roberts: Books

Amazon.com: The book of five rings: Books

Amazon.com: The art of war: Books

You can read the comments of various reviewers and take a peak at the content. Frankly, I just found them interesting reading. I recall reading that the Book of Five Rings and the Art of War are required reading in many business schools.

Good luck,

Rich
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Old 04-01-2011, 16:15   #13
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As has been discovered in countless wars over the years, places like Sandhurst and West Point do not make a leader.... they make a man to fit a uniform...
The men obey the uniform not necessarily the man...
There are sergeants/corporals who are better leaders than their officers could ever be...
Don't be blinded or confused by the hyperbole...
'Natural Leadership' is a quality that cannot be taught... only possible techniques... but that does not make a 'Leader'... merely one who must be obeyed through fear of consequences...
Alexander... Hannibal... Wingate... those were leaders... a man will gladly die for a leader... he'll think twice for just a uniform
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Old 04-01-2011, 17:03   #14
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I mean the current military leadership handbooks.

And, of course, they are not Top Secret
the American one is accessable here: army leadership training manual - Google Search


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Old 04-01-2011, 17:11   #15
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The thing I liked the best about the Corps was that the lowest ranking Marines always ate first (or got shelter, etc.), so if the chow ran out, the CO didn't eat. And it worked all the way up and down the ranks, at least by unit, so my people ate before I did, and I ate before my boss did, and he ate -- well, you get the picture.
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