When we say the word ‘team’ we think of a tight-knit group of individuals working towards the same goal. We think of people wearing the same colours and we think of sport.
Teams, and especially management teams in the offshore world, can be an extremely detached concept. One management team working towards the same goal will be geographically, and perhaps mentally, worlds apart because their individual points of reference are entirely different.
This leads to unique challenges when attempting to work as one team because, as with any team, communication is key, but the team can get fragmented and too often you end up with two teams; the ‘onshore’ team and the ‘offshore’ team. This breaks down further as you have crew changes, which can often create yet another team.
The team breaks down further still when we introduce clients, departments and 3rd parties, but for the sake of confusion, let’s stick with two parts of the one team for now; Onshore and Offshore.
So what is the best way to affect a management team and make that team successful with the unique challenges offshore?
Yes of course, but leading from 120 miles away with only descriptions, reports and an occasional day trip as a reference is very tricky. Does the onshore team truly understand the dynamics of the day-to-day life of the rig they manage? Even with the best will in the world, it’s very doubtful they could have a real ‘Feel’ for the rig and the crew. They rely heavily on the offshore management team for this.
Without doubt, this is the absolute key to effective management, but does the offshore management team inform the onshore team what is really happening or do they sometimes tell them what they know they want to hear??
• Positive Perception?!
How do the onshore team see the offshore team and vice-a-versa? Is there a real mutual respect and understanding of the challenges each team faces, or do they hang up the phone with an utterance of “Idiot’s don’t know what they’re talking about” under the breath?
I could go on-and-on but this demonstrates how difficult it can be and some of the things we must be mindful of when in a managerial role. It’s not a case of just doing it my way because I say so.
It’s important to take time to think about other managers and have empathy for their priorities, tasks and the teams they are working with. We are all here to achieve the same goals and we all want to do our jobs well.
We can only achieve this with team work, leadership, communication and positive perception.
Lead, respect and achieve together and everyone wins – Team? It’s a beautiful thing!