Resilience Skill Building

In the maritime industry, where safety and security are the foremost priority, resilience is crucial. But before we indulge in its explanation and importance lets quickly go through a story. Two MBA graduates, let’s call them Mark and Steve, were laid off during the 2009 recession. After being laid off they were very anxious about their future. Mark sent his resume to many different firms but was rejected by all of them. He then approached many firms in his hometown. After a lot of rejections and wasted time, he eventually got a job. Steve, on the other hand, gave up thinking that he was fit enough for the job. He believed the market would take years to recover and thus there was no point in looking for a job. He ended up living with his parents. What Mark did precisely defines resilience, which is the ability to bounce back when faced with the most difficult challenges. It lets a mariner maintain poise and a healthy level of physical and psychological wellness in anticipated as well as unanticipated situations. It helps the crew on ship and port to successfully handle stressful personal and professional challenges and make effective and swift decisions. Therefore, incorporating a resilience safety culture is important.

Why is it needed?

In an industry where human factor accounts for the majority of accidents, resilient safety cultures prevent unpleasant and unexpected surprises. Researches on the psychological health of mariners suggest that mariners are at the highest risk of stress and associated mental health conditions for obvious reasons. Living conditions on a ship are affected by factors such as social exclusion, confinement in open spaces, and multiculturalism within the single organizational culture of a ship. Authoritative pressure, mental and physical workload, long work hours, unhealthy lifestyle, fatigue, and sleep deprivation add to their woes. Experts, therefore, suggest that resilience skill building in mariners can help in reducing the maritime accidents, which are primarily caused by the human factor.

How can you build it?

One of the most important skills in any industry, resilience is built with the involvement of both an organization and an employee. The management needs to take steps to - Reduce personal triggers - Enhance emotional intelligence - Reduce stress and staff turnover - Keep the employees motivated - Increase physical activities throughout the day The following fundamentals add to the building of resilience skills.

Employee accountability

When it comes to safety, it is not one individual’s job; each and every employee on port and onboard a ship is responsible. Although shipping companies have a separate safety department, all employees are equally accountable for safety. Each employee should realize the impact of their decisions and work on other areas of the business.

Risk Management

Often the focus is on the seafarers’ ability to work. The rationale behind this approach is the concept called “as early as possible”. The concept involves almost every department because resilience thinking is not limited to the rank and position of a seafarer. All employees, irrespective of their rank and position can make decisions when it comes to safety.

Evaluate, assess, correct, and improve

The approach that “since it has never happened before, it will not happen now” is the cause of major maritime accidents. Therefore, continuous evaluation and reflection of the safety performance of every seafarer are crucial in implementing a resilient safety culture. In addition, performance debriefs and evaluations should take place during individual evaluation, feedback from superiors and colleagues, and post the completion of a task.

Reinforcing the good and managing the bad

The Danish researcher, Erik Hollnagel, advocates focusing, discussing and highlighting on things that went well rather than only waiting to discuss the things that go wrong. In essence, he is trying to convince people to find the positives and reinforce these during work. Towards the end, it all boils down to psychologist Albert Ellis’s model called A-B-C for Adversity – Beliefs – Consequences.

Being in a challenging situation

Interpreting a situation

The action takes as a result of the interpretation Although this rational approach helps to handle almost every situation, there are times when visceral emotions decapitate the person’s ability to think clearly. At those times the key to solving a problem at hand is to realize that every problem has a solution. ‘Yellowbox’ by Bigyellowfish has an entire module dedicated to this most crucial behavioral skilling, crafted around game-play and gamification, which makes it even more engaging and effective. You can ask us for a demo / pilot at anytime!


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