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Captain of Calm

Last week I crewed on a sailboat with the best kind of captain: well trained, well researched, well prepared. The most important trait he had though was calm. He was the best kind of captain.

What our guests on the boat didn’t see, because they are not married to him like I am, were his concerns. I knew his doubts and fears. Will I drown my friends and wife? Will a container ship hit us in this fog bank? Will I hit the dock? Will the keel hit the bottom during low tide? Will the winds be favorable? Will the anchor hold?

Despite his fears, he was calm. He gave direction with a kind voice and authority. He was never angry when things went wrong. It was a pleasure to help him captain our boat. Because of him, I knew I was an asset to our crew, rather than a liability. His calm made me feel safe.

This has not always been my experience when sailing. I have been on boats with bossy captains who are quick-tempered and impatient. Their reasonable concerns about sailing a boat led to poor leadership. Both captain and crew were not having fun or sailing well. Isn’t “fun” the point?

What is my husband’s secret to being a calm leader? Practice. Many of his life experiences, jobs, and relationships have demanded calm leadership. I have watched him grow as a leader. He has sometimes failed and used failure to learn. He actively seeks to be better.

There is a strong connection between the kind of captain my husband is and the kind of boss he is. I know my husband is a good boss because he is The Captain of Calm. He makes sailing fun and safe.


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