The Junior Officer leadership course is based on the Senior Officer leadership courses and composed in the same way, including Preparation, Facilitation and Application. What are the intentions, advantages and challenges?
Preparedness among Junior Officers is TORM’s overall intention for rolling out the Safety Leadership Course for Junior Officers in collaboration with Green-Jakobsen. This is to ensure that all these emerging leaders are ready—competence-wise—before they are promoted or take on the Senior Officer’s role.
Allan Dan Jensen, Head of Marine HR at TORM, explains the TORM’s intention:
So, Green-Jakobsen facilitates the course using a three-phase learning path that allows the participants to reflect, provides them with a better learning experience, and ensures the faster application of learnings in their day-to-day work practices.
Allan Dan Jensen continues: “The course is designed as if we create a playground where the Junior Officers can have the first leadership experiences, reflect on their own and their seniors’ roles and ways of doing, and try out taking on leadership roles”
The course utilises a learning management system (LMS) called YourHeadway. The participants can access the LMS in case they need to recall, confirm, or practise the learning from the course.
In addition, the participants share their experiences applying their learnings back to work via the reflection logbook.
Mathias Pedersen, Junior Officer, is taking advantage of that: “I was using the Your Headway which I can log on to and all the theory is there, so I was consulting that quite a few times so, therefore, I did not have any troubles.”
Also, the facilitated online sessions added value according to Mathias Pedersen:
“It’s the perfect way to do it because you get some theory, and what I like about the online part is that even though it was conducted online you still have to do a lot of group work. That is good because together in the groups we get a really good discussion and more input from all the others”.
Since the course is not compulsory for Junior Officers as there is still a ‘natural route’ to promotion, the course intends to serve as a gesture for recognising the juniors as valuable assets and as future drivers of adaptability and innovation.
Allan Dan Jensen explains: “We want to give this course to the Junior Officers as a token. We want to acknowledge them for their good potential to go further.”
As TORM observes the good effects of the course, they believe that fulfilling it together with all its activities will become a requirement for the promotion of Junior Officers.
The course is infused with various reflective and practical activities and revolves around the content, which is relevant to the current demands in the industry, it is aligned with Safety Delta, part of TORM’s existing safety programme, and takes the overall TORM leadership principles and safety standards into consideration.
Allan Dan Jensen says: “It is a very essential thing in the course is that the TORM safety standard seriously comes into play because the participants have to be acquainted with it in order to carry out the course activities. The course also helps us in communicating the value of our standard.”
“Since the juniors already have a role in being responsible for the dialogue phase of Safety Delta, this could lead to more leadership tasks. Formally they have a safety responsibility in our organisation. They are the safety officers – the second officers and third officers have that role, – but now we are giving them some tools.”
Mathias Pedersen cites the most interesting topic in the course: “What I really liked about the course was about the cultural differences. We are a lot of cultures here at sea and we are all thinking in a different way, so that’s really useful.”
As for Mahesh Bararwa, he has got a lot of leadership and safety tools from the course and he has been trying them out in their day-to-day interactions on board: “The leadership tools help us to involve everyone to get feedback and ideas while the risk management tools guide us to do the important things in order to work safely and efficiently.”
Franko Separovic adds: “I learned how to be more focused on a specific task. To be honest, I think I need to practice more to be a better leader and especially in doing the on-board tasks and facilitating the dialogue and development parts. I need to give it more and more effort. It’s hard to make people speak up, but we try our best to participate.
TORM recognises that there can be challenges with the course, particularly on the application part. TORM finds it normal. They believe that the Junior Officers will successfully address the challenge using the tools and insights from the course.
Allan Dan Jensen describes the challenge: “In general, the challenge is with the latter part of the learning process where the juniors, as they go back on board, must try out the tools they’ve learnt. Their practising the tools may seem to challenge the authorities on board or result initially in resistance. But the tools from the course help the juniors overcome such situations. Those Junior Officers who are used to a great power distance have the greatest challenges, but they also have greater learning opportunities – they go on board and dare to discuss ideas or solutions with the Senior Officers.”
In the third article in this series you can read about the learnings and realisations achieved by the Junior Officers as they followed the learning path.
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