"IN MOST ASIAN SOCIETIES SENIORS & ELDERS ARE PUT ON A PEDESTAL"

Deepankar Das, Training Manager Anglo Eastern Manila: "This cultural background makes it hard for people to give feedback to their superiors."

Deepankar Das and Anand Dalela (Deputy Training Manager), both work at the training facility of Anglo Eastern in Manila, where they coordinate and conduct training sessions for crews of most vessels of Boskalis’ offshore fleet. Encouraging people to approach others about working safely is one of the biggest challenges they face.

Deepankar Das and Anand Dalela (Deputy Training Manager), both work at the training facility of Anglo Eastern in Manila, where they coordinate and conduct training sessions for crews of most vessels of Boskalis’ offshore fleet. Encouraging people to approach others about working safely is one of the biggest challenges they face.

Deepankar Das: "Approaching others, interacting and trying to get on the same page is crucial in the process of working safely. For many Asian employees however this could be quite very difficult, due to their upbringing in a high power distance society. When a Philippine junior officer sees his superior make a mistake, out of respect he may rather choose to stay quiet than to approach him. This can lead to dangerous situations, as lack of feedback affects the assertiveness of the team and errors go uncorrected."

RESPONSIBILITY
"Let me give an example from our simulation room. Junior officers must monitor the navigation. At one moment the ship is supposed to change course, but the senior officer doesn’t execute the turn. I see that the junior knows it and feels uncomfortable, but he remains quiet. When this occurs I stop the simulation and we talk about it. Key is that people understand we don’t want them to disconnect from their culture, we only want them to behave differently at work. You may be a shy person, but when you are on the bridge the safe navigation of the ship is your responsibility, with all it takes, including approaching others when needed. In general you see that during the training the awareness of their role according to NINA grows."

BEING APPROACHABLE
Anand Dalela: "In our training sessions we also pay attention to the behavior of seniors. We emphasize that good teamwork requires feedback from all members, so as a senior officer you must find ways to get this feedback. In other words: you have to become approachable. In role plays we show the effects of friendliness and toughness: when we are tough nobody talks, when we are friendly and open, people are more inclined to give feedback. This way one feels and experiences what we mean."

FUTURE
Deepankar Das: "As for the future: I am positive we can succeed, because I see that our existing crews, thanks to NINA, behave more assertively than new hires do. So the focus on NINA values and rules is surely paying off. Still, overcoming ones’ upbringing takes time. People fear they will lose their job when they speak up. To change this, management has to show that they genuinely care for the safety of their employees. Trust is the key issue."

"Lack of feedback affects the assertiveness of the team and errors go uncorrected."