A new report on kind leadership has been published by the MPC

A new report on kind leadership has been published by the MPC

Kind leadership is the subject of a new 32 page report report published by The Maritime Professional Council (MPC).

The maritime industry in recent years has seen an increasing interest in ‘Kind Leadership’, the adoption of which transforms leadership and safety culture, and improves the well-being of individuals. This report sets out the findings of research into ‘Kind Leadership’ in the maritime industry and the derived recommendations.

In 2022, the MPC undertook an initial pilot study of in the maritime industry. The research sought to discover whether ‘Kind Leadership’:
– Has a place in the maritime industry.
– Could be used to enhance the industry’s leadership and safety culture.
– Could improve the well-being of individuals.

To find the answers to these questions, The Nautical Institute, an MPC member organisation, invited its members and non-members to complete a survey on, which yielded 119 comprehensive responses.

– 88% of respondents (105 of 119) agreed that there was a place for ‘Kind Leadership’ in the maritime industry.
– The respondents generally viewed ‘Kind Leadership’ as an effective way of enhancing leadership, safety culture, team motivation, communication and improving the well-being of individuals.
– Some respondents advocated the creation of group goals and the elimination of the blame culture in favour of learning from mistakes.
– There was a strong belief that ‘Kind Leadership’ could be learnt and taught in the working environment and through carefully planned activities in the classroom and online.
– A prevalent theme in the findings was the impact that onboard leadership practices have on cadets.

1. It is recommended that ‘Kind Leadership’ be:
– Integrated into a modernised cadet curriculum to prepare the maritime leaders of the future.
– Implemented via companies introducing formal mentoring practices, which are realistically implemented and evaluated in a work-place setting.
– Used to improve teaching and learning practices during the ‘sea phase’ placement of cadets, including the introduction of benchmarks and standards that can hold companies to account.
– An influence within current mandatory maritime leadership and management courses, such as HELM, or equivalent, and any future continuing professional development (CPD) for seafarers and shore-based staff.
– Part of continuing professional development and other opportunities, which support the sharing and understanding of roles amongst seafarers and shore staff.

2. Leadership training must be focused more on the practical side, complete with practical exercises, with the attending groups being drawn from mixed disciplines, ashore and on board. This will achieve more realistic practices which can be used to drive the forthcoming review of STCW. In this way, stakeholders can argue for the inclusion of tangible ‘soft skills’ as a competence to be evaluated on the same terms as ‘technical skills’.

3. Introduce regular properly approved experiential leadership training throughout a career.

4. Even the most immersive and engaging courses, using both engine and bridge simulators and ‘discovery learning’ techniques, are by themselves insufficient. It is essential that companies create the conditions for newly acquired behaviours pertaining to ‘Kind Leadership’ and ‘Followership’ to bed-in on board by using onboard mentoring and coaching. This commitment will signal that this is the new company work practice and industry standard, and that these behaviours
are necessary and measured through an integrated appraisal system. The aim is to facilitate real, measurable, and positive change.

5. Provide leaders with approved training and mentoring in conducting consistent, effective, and useful appraisals. This process, in of itself, encourages the identified desirable behaviours in leaders such as teamwork, empathy, emotional intelligence, effective communication, etc.

6. Evidence in other industries points to the success of 360-degree appraisals, where the outcomes have proved to be positive and desirable. Consider introducing these as part of the drive towards developing effective, approved, and recognised industry appraisal systems.

The full report is available to download: MPC – Kind Leadership Report