Project description

The subject of this paper is the analysis of necessary tools for global teams, image of the team leader, styles of leadership in global teams. The analysis is based on selected examples from high-performance teams with visible results. The purpose of the work is to answer for the following questions: What are the characteristics of the leading global teams? Which style of leadership use the global teams? Is a female leader different from the male leader in a team? What factors influence the team\’s leadership style? Which system is better: leadership or management in the most driven international teams? How should a leader of a team behaves? Is the cooperation of the leader with other people important in a team? What kind of people lead successful companies? Subsequently, a general team mission was quoted in the light of available literature. As a result, the definition of the team leader was mentioned, it is styles listed, and the origins of that phenomenon as well. Women and men were analyzed as leaders as two different creatures that use management and leadership in their described way that leads to become successful team. The advantages and disadvantages of working in a team, the similarities and the differences between using different types of intelligence in practice. Most of all, the maritime industry was presented, that is very taken for granted nowadays, including the figure and style of the team leader. The captain\’s chosen silhouette in this publication was also not chosen accidentally. Particularly noteworthy; the chapter devoted to conflicts occurring in teams and conflict resolution is essential for this academic book. Such activities are crucial for the proper management of teams and thus presented the development by reference to a wider range of instruments that can be useful not only for the students involved in managing teams. This can be helpful for practitioners on a daily basis in the subject of team-building inside different industries. Moreover, the development of the team leader\’s work has been approximated: from co-operation with people, through work styles, to the types of pursuit of goals by the team leaders.

What makes this project innovative?

The "Team Tools" publishing project focuses on the topic of leadership and the crucial role of the leader that was analyzed, partly in the maritime industry. Most of all, the maritime industry was presented, that is very taken for granted nowadays, including the figure and style of the team leader. The captain's chosen silhouette in this publication was also not chosen accidentally. The fact is, that a shipping industry is just after the armed forces industry one of the most rigorous and still dominated by the male-workers' sphere, and is still underestimated. And it is true that the maritime transport industry provides the society with as much as 90% of raw materials. In addition, about 35,000 Polish seafarers are currently working on ships - this sum is for the European Union. Beyond it, you can even talk about 50,000 to 60,000 seafarers. In addition, according to a report conducted by World Health Organization in 2014 on sectors exposed to sudden death, which was the result of, inter alia, committing suicide. For over a dozen years, up to 800,000 thousand suicides have been recorded, which means that each is committed every 40 seconds. This means that suicides are one of the fifteen most widespread causes of death worldwide. It is an industry in which there is a culture of occupational safety and leadership in an organizational culture with higher risk. This risk is caused, among other things, by the terrorists and pirate attacks to which shipowners must be prepared, providing so-called sea freight, which in the maritime transport industry is more accurately referred to as the Aden Gulf Surcharge.

What was the impact of your project? How did you measure it?

The impact of my project titled "Team Tools", to a large degree, was widely seen as a helpful tool for the academic and business environment due to a simple but yet professional team-building solutions. A variety of theorical and practical approaches showed that the book can be used for beginners (start ups CEOs and advanced Professors at the University).

The book is based on a quantitative and qualitative research. Representatives of the selected companies hold management positions and manage teams of employees. This was one of the most important factors that I took into account when selecting my interlocutors. Another issue was to ensure the diversity of the industries represented: from aesthetic cosmetology through finance and accounting to logistics and maritime transport. In addition, representatives of the companies work in countries such as: Denmark, Sweden, Ireland, the UK, the USA (California) and Poland. The profile of the sea captain selected for this publication is not random. First of all, I wanted to choose a person working for an international company that leads and manages a multicultural team. This entails such concepts as cross-cultural communication, human identity, different approaches to time and space, the elimination of stereotypes and prejudices, as well as the resolution of international conflicts and crises. To quote Marian Golka, multiculturalism is understood as “conscious co-existence in the same space (or in the direct vicinity without explicit boundaries, or in a situation of aspiring to occupy the same space) of two or more social groups of relatively different... distinctive features: appearance, language, religious beliefs, value systems etc., which contributes to perception of mutual differences, with different results.” This means that there are different approaches to the space of a cargo and passenger ship and to specific members of the crew, who all speak different languages, have different backgrounds and represent different cultural values. According to Iwona Królikowska, a ship’s crew operates “on the basis of three separate, but interacting systems that determine the operation of the ship as a whole: the cultural system, the social system, and the system of individual personalities.” Therefore, the structure of the ship and the people connected with it can be identified as a structural-functionalist perspective, as Talcott.

The second aspect is to select a representative of the maritime transport and logistics industry, which is one of the most rigorous areas of employment (after the defence industry) and continues to be dominated by men, but is also neglected and underestimated. In fact, the maritime transport industry provides society with 90% of all commodities. In addition, around 35,000 Polish seafarers are currently employed on ships within the European Union. Outside of the EU, there can be as many as 50,000 to 60,000 seafarers. “This number results from the transformation process after 1989, which led to an inflow of multicultural ship crews” on ro-ro/pax ships and others. Furthermore, according to a 2014 report by World Health Organization on industries exposed to sudden death, including by suicide, there have been around 800,000 suicides a year for the past several years, which means that one suicide is committed every 40 seconds. This makes suicide one of the most common causes of death in the world. This industry features work safety management and leadership in a high-risk organisational culture. The risk stems from threats such as terrorism or pirate attacks that the ship-owners providing maritime transport service can face, a phenomenon referred to as Piracy Risk Surcharge (PRS) or Aden Gulf Surcharge.

The austere life style of sea captains and ship officers was also mentioned by my interlocutor in an article for Nautilus Telegraph, in which he talked about an entertainment offer for ship crews to ensure better bonding between crew members. In particular, the work of seafarers (including on ro-ro/pax ships) is based on different types of contracts; more specifically, the contract terms may range from two weeks to two, three, six or nine months (as in 1991). Both onshore and offshore, seafarers have an average shift of 12 hours, which can be either a night shift or a day shift, with two 30-minute and two 15-minute breaks. This is the optimistic scenario, where the ship enters the port on time in favourable weather conditions and with optimum cargo and passenger load. Very often, the situation is different, so we should stress the dedication of seafarers, whose shifts can be up to 14 hours long, in stormy weather, with a high number of passengers, heavy cargo or emergencies.

The above-mentioned team building process can be hindered by language barriers. The issue of language becomes a tool of cultural stigmatisation. Communication with other crew members on a professional and private level is determined by the language level currently prevailing at the workplace. Better language skills can facilitate relationship-building or intercultural dialogue, or “reduce the feeling of loneliness on a ship.” The third argument is the scientific educational background of ship officers and captains. There is a whole range of certificates and courses that must be renewed every few years, which means that seafarers must regularly monitor their qualifications and health. In order to become a sea captain, one needs several years of solid practice. This is why so few people are able to take on this job. The fourth argument is the set of distinctive leadership features that can be found in my interlocutor, including the ability to lead others, communication with the company’s internal and external stakeholders, authority building, application of several leadership styles depending on the situation (liberal, autocratic or democratic), pro-active attitude, crisis management, striving for self-fulfilment, relationship building and maintaining, team spirit, developing others, and, in particular, empathy. In addition, I also place emphasis on organisational skills, leading and teaching others, as listed by Professor John Guiniven. These were the key distinctive features that I considered when selecting my interlocutor to serve as an example of a global team leader.

How was the success measured? After the book was published I won the Nationwide Award 100 Notable Women for 100 Years of Independent Poland 1918-2018, A Beautiful Face of Business 2018 by Success is a Woman Magazine, is a Laureate of the Award The Eagles of Entrepreneurship 2018, The EWF Fellowship for Young Entrepreneurs 2021 Prize and 15 other distinctions.

Source and methodology

The details of the research are included in the first chapter about methodology, but basically I interviewed 400 people from the middle and senior-management positions through a quantitative research (300 people through questionnaire) and qualitative research (100 individual in-depth interviews) conducted in corporations based in EU countries includinf Poland, United Kingdom, Ireland, Sweden and Denmark. Those two kinds of research, allowed me to solve and analyse my research problem. The technique applied to collect the necessary data and the research tools allowed me to analyse leadership in more depth. In order to get a better grasp of the phenomenon of leadership, I also used quantitative research. Qualitative methods included: individual interviews, websites, video recordings of TV shows, video recordings, as well as focused interviews, books, magazines, press archives and films.

Technologies Used

I used Open Office to write my book. Also applications like: Speech to Text that helped me to write some of the senteces from the interviews; a microphone; a sound recorder.

Project members

A ship's Captain Steven Palmer Cockerill as my main interviewee which's interview can be found in the end of the book.


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