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10 Tips for Conflict Resolution Onboard

4 September 2020

As we near the end of the Mediterranean season, the pressure of working long hours under demanding conditions might be causing tension or conflict onboard amongst crew membes. This conflict can, in turn, lead to additional stress, tiredness and severed relationships. 

If you find yourself caught up in a dispute with a fellow crew member, or are struggling with a tense and strained working environment, you can follow our ten tips for conflict resolution onboard.

  1. Nip it in the bud, quick: The best step to easing conflict onboard is to confront all crew members involved, as quickly as possible to ensure a solution is reached. Not addressing conflict quickly might allow tensions to rise and worsen the situation further. 

  2. Listen: Captains or senior crew members need to discuss the conflict with all parties to understand what has happened, when did it happen, why has it happened, how can it be fixed?

  3. Come together: all crew need to be brought together to voice their concerns or frustrations in a professional manner.

  4. Common ground: Senior members need to encourage those involved to find common ground and agree on workable solutions to all problems.

  5. Find a compromise: For the sake of working together, each crew member must be willing to give in a little. Explaining the detrimental effect of conflict onboard should hopefully defuse tensions and push those involved towards concession.

  6. Confront negative feelings: Crew might be feeling a range of emotions, including hurt, frustration or anger. These feelings should be discussed and diffused. 

  7. Leadership: Senior crew members can help ease tensions and defuse conflict by reminding crew of their role onboard and mentoring those crew members who might need extra support or assistance. 

  8. Teamwork: Remind crew about the importance of teamwork onboard and provide them with tools to improve how they work together.

  9. Time out: If possible, allow crew members to take a few minutes of time out each day to improve their ability to manage stress and tension onboard.

  10. The bigger picture: Encourage crew to focus on the bigger picture, including why they joined the industry and the areas of their role they enjoy the most.

It's always worth reminding crew that simply saying 'sorry' and demonstrating mutual respect for other crew members is vital to a professional and happy work environment.

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