Team dynamics, communication, mutual understanding and interaction are fundamental parameters for developing a functional and valuable teamwork. 

Training of these skills will prepare the crew for responding in a timely manner in critical situations, thereby ensuring that undesired consequences are either prevented, neutralized or mitigated.

Statistics clearly show that ineffective communication, misunderstandings and non-functional teams are the core ingredients conspiring against human performance. In critical situations, we have different reaction patterns and tendencies, but for most untrained people, these are unknown until an accident occurs. This may lead to poor or no control over a critical situation. 

Training the ability of the team

To effectively handle such critical situations, dedicated training is necessary. Guillermo G. Garay, Senior Instructor at FORCE Technology, explains, ‘Experience has shown that by training the crew’s teamwork abilities such as task-sharing, effective communication, cross-checking, assertive behaviour and synergistic management style, teams have successfully reduced the occurrence of undesired situations and managed unforeseen events, thereby minimising their consequences. Training these core topics has a decisive impact on the team’s timely and effective responses and thereby significantly enhances a company’s performance, safety and economy.

The combination of psychological tests, simulation training and on-board assessment strengthens the team’s behavioural patterns and dynamics. By this means, we gain a deeper understanding of the features we should work on to obtain a continuous improvement strategy.’

Psychology and maritime training, the perfect combination

We start by identifying crew members’ personality traits and behavioural tendencies. A customised psychological test helps revealing these cues such as approach to risk-taking attitudes, concentration abilities, emotional patterns and compliance attitudes. 

By linking the data from the psychological tests with practical simulator training, it is possible to identify and illustrate the factors that should be optimised within the team. These factors cover all aspects from communication skills to assertive attitudes and reaction patterns.

Jesper Ejdorf Brøsted, Human Factors Specialist at FORCE Technology, elaborates, ‘What makes this combination of methods unique and valuable is that the customer receives accurate data regarding their team’s reactions and behavioural patterns. Based on this, a customised training can be carried out, and the entire team can improve their critical zones.’ By tailoring the training according to the specific needs of the crew, we maximize the effects of this training in concrete, practical behaviour impacting overall performance and safety on board.

The importance of knowing each other in a team

In a team, it is of paramount importance that each team member knows and understands other team members’ typical reactions and behavioural cues. This will ensure a solid and effective team response under any adverse circumstances. In such situations, it will be easier for the team to be handle the situation efficiently when they are acquainted with the team’s strengths and weaknesses. 

Based on accident investigations, it can be concluded that a well-trained crew will respond quicker and more effectively in a critical situation, thereby preventing the situation from escalating and getting out of control.