Speed Trusting is Just like Speed Dating

Credit: Sea Health & Welfare
Credit: Sea Health & Welfare

Published Jul 4, 2018 3:12 AM by Vivek Menon

On board ships, having a great deal of trust amongst each other raises the level of trust on board the ship making work safer, more efficient, provides a greater sense of well-being and fewer conflicts. From a leadership perspective management research shows that trust is always a key parameter for success in general.

Building trust takes time and requires effort from everyone involved. Ashore, building trust may take less time and effort, as we often tend to work with the same people for long periods, and in time we get to know each other’s personalities and competencies.

On board ships, you are constantly required to work together with colleagues that have just arrived or are just leaving. Whether you are senior officer or junior-most on board, the fact that new people come on board can be routine and potentially be a challenge. So, how can one start, build trust and get to know one another in a short period of time?

A simple solution is curiosity, whereby you eventually build a trust culture on board your ship. If you have tried speed dating then you know what it is like to get to know a stranger and built trust in a short period of time. Speed trusting is like speed dating, where you have few minutes to get to know a new person on board the ship and still have to get into a working relationship through mutual trust. There are various ways for creating speed trusting on board. To help you start the process, we will here focus on two key areas, which are informal communication and cultural skills.

Informal communication

Create time for informal communication with your new colleague on board by asking questions about family, favorite sport or hobbies. You could take notes to remember names of family members, special occasions etc. It creates trust between the two of you if you remember these.

A simple “good morning” or “how are you doing today?” can get you far in initiating a conversation. Engage in initiatives to arrange tournaments, BBQ’s, karaoke or encourage crew to suggest ideas for social events.

Cultural skills

Curiosity if the key and it is important to observe, listen and understand cultural aspects that may be the reason for certain actions or behaviors. Ask your colleagues on board about their culture, customs, speciality and important dates. Looking for similarities as opposed to differences among cultures may help you understand that individual personalities affect their behavior at least as much as their cultural backgrounds. Be aware of your own cultural background, its values important to you and that it may differ from the values of your colleagues on board.

We believe that these two key areas are simple, specific and action oriented, which will allow you to focus on how you can speed up the process of establishing a high level of trust on board. Give this a try and let us know how it went. We are eager to hear from you.

Trust is Key

If trust in you is high:

• People come to you and tell you how they feel

• People ask if they have doubts, tell when they have made mistakes and share ideas

• People believe in what you do and say.

If trust in you is low:

• People do not come to you

• Failure to thrive and uncertainty is held back from you

• People are likely to interpret your behavior negatively.

Vivek Menon is Head of Department - Occupational Health and Safety at Sea Health & Welfare.

The opinions expressed herein are the author's and not necessarily those of The Maritime Executive.