As a fervent advocate of professional growth and development, I consider it imperative to confront a substantial transition that is taking place in the marine sector. Understanding the shifting circumstances of leadership and management in this new period is essential given the advent of Generation Z (Gen Z) mariners, who are now entering the profession.
Gen Z is the digital native generation. I have witnessed people of this generation believing in ‘smart work’ more than the conventional concept of ‘hard work’. Therefore, their way of dealing with various operations and strategies is different from others.
This generation is a melting pot of innovations, who are capable of integrating technological advancements into day-to-day operations. “Gen-Z seafarers have a natural propensity for innovation and a thorough awareness of the digital ecosystem.”
Over the past few years, as someone who has been involved in the marine sector for more than 20 years, I have witnessed enormous transformations brought about by young leaders. In this blog, I will address the importance of the leadership and management executed for the Gen-Z Seafarers.
Understanding the Gen-Z seafarers
The first generation to have genuinely grown up in the digital age is Gen Z. They were raised in a society that had quick technological progress, connection, and a wide variety of knowledge available at any time. In their capacity as seafarers, they contribute to the marine sector with useful abilities including adaptability, technological know-how, and a new viewpoint.
I have observed that they have an exceptional knack for picking up fresh skills that are useful for providing a variety of opportunities in the future. Thanks to technological advancements and support, learning about the maritime aspects has become much easier. During my initial days in this industry, there was a lack of guidance as well as scope.
In order to position yourself as a capable leader in this sector, I implore my fellow Gen-Z seafarers to hone your managerial prudence and skills. Being a Gen-Z, you have the capability to bring out fresh perspectives and digital prowess to the table, making them uniquely equipped to navigate the challenges and opportunities of the maritime sector.
I deeply support the quest of Gen-Z to find the perfect balance between being a value-centered and purpose-driven seafarer by overcoming the myriad challenges thrown at them.
Value of collaboration and feedback
The maritime industry has a high wave of opportunities, which might seem complicated but can be life-changing. Getting a grasp of each of those opportunities requires determination and constant focus. One of the best ways to get closer to those opportunities is networking and collaboration.
Gen Z seafarers perform better in collaborative work settings that value open communication and teamwork. They search for possibilities for both professional and personal improvement, and they value constructive criticism. Leaders in the marine industry must foster an inclusive culture that values teamwork, candid communication, and ongoing learning if they are to lead and manage this generation effectively.
Furthermore, I always try to inspire young seafarers to be open to feedback, which is one of the best ways to improve themselves. You might think that you are right, until and unless someone points out certain factors that might stagnant your professional as well as personal growth. Being a maritime entrepreneur for so long, I guarantee that Gen-Z seafarers can blend creativity and innovation once they are exposed to appropriate facilities, which you should offer as a leader.
Leverage technology for engagement
I have always been an advocate for fostering a positive environment for people to keep them engaged in their work. Only a positive workplace environment is not enough for Gen-Z. They always anticipate appropriate facilities, which require modern technologies that are important for optimizing their productivity in the industry.
In my opinion, they naturally find comfort in technological support. Adopting digital tools and platforms can increase this tech-savvy generation’s engagement and productivity. Leveraging technology is essential for attracting, engaging, and keeping Gen Z talent, from mobile apps for effective communication and data sharing to e-learning platforms for continual training.
Prioritizing the drive of the metaverse and AI
Currently, AI and the metaverse have become crucial subjects in this era of digitalization. AI encompasses technologies like machine learning, computer vision, and natural language processing. On the other hand, the metaverse helps us go beyond traditional 2D screens by providing immersive experiences and integrating the physical and digital worlds.
As I mentioned earlier, Gen Z is accustomed to the technologies, as they were the first to witness the digital era from the start. Gen Z is capable of making the correct use of AI and the metaverse to automate and improve maritime processes, make informed decisions, and get new insights from the massive amount of data. Maritime industry needs Gen Z seafarers to cope with the current digital transformation.
Prioritize work-life balance and well-being
Have you seen the sudden upswing in mental-health well-being? I assume you must have. Well, Gen-Z are the main flag bearers of the work-life balance. Even so, the majority of my lectures conclude that “motivation comes with germane mental health.” Therefore, to manage the seafarers of this generation, you need to build a workplace suitable for their well-being.
Gen Z mariners place a higher value on overall well-being and work-life balance than earlier generations. They look for employers who value their physical and emotional well-being, offer resources, and encourage a healthy work-life balance. You are always welcome to adopt policies that support work-life balance and emphasis on seafarer’s well-being.
As we navigate the waters of the maritime industry, leaders must motivate their strategies to cater to the unique demands of Gen-Z seafarers. We can unlock the potential of this young generation by establishing a collaborative and inclusive culture, utilizing technology, offering mentorship, and placing an emphasis on work-life balance. Adopting these techniques not only ensures the growth and success of Gen Z seafarers but also helps the maritime sector thrive and prosper generally.
So let’s go on this transformational path while embracing the skills and goals of Gen-Z seafarers. We can create a future that respects the rich maritime traditions while embracing the technological breakthroughs of the digital era by developing their leadership potential and giving them the resources they require to succeed. Be the capable leader to help young seafarers to create a smooth sailing journey ahead!