Captain Alex Halavins is the General Manager of V.Ships Ltd. He is an active and inspirational speaker on visible leadership, quality assurance and the promotion of a safety culture within the Shipping industry. In his interview with Muriel, he shares his and V.Group’s thoughts on developing leaders and promoting safety by means of regular conversation and constructive feedback.
Muriel: “With an impressive Shipping career, you are currently focusing on quality assurance and promoting safety culture within the industry. What are the messages you share accordingly?”
Captain Halavins: “For me and my V.Group colleagues – safety comes first and we encourage everyone to be a safety leader – be at sea or ashore. It’s something that we talk about explicitly to ensure that people are in no doubt that they are empowered to do what it takes to ensure the safety of ourselves and those around us as well as the environment we operate within.”
Muriel: “How do you realise strengths in your team members and encourage them to build on it?”
Captain Halavins: “We have a very robust performance management process at V.Group, which starts with a conversation to identify yearly objectives as well as personal and professional development to support them to achieve these. Regular one to one conversations with team members provides a good opportunity for us to check on progress and identify further support where required.”
Muriel: “How do you prepare your team for the constant change we face at all levels? How do you encourage your people to accept change?”
Captain Halavins: “Change is constant, but it doesn’t need to be negative. For me, it’s important to spend quality time with the team to explain what the change is and to give them time to consider what it means for them personally. We encourage the team to ask questions and share what’s on their mind and assure they are with us on any change journey.”
Muriel: “How do you align your team with V.Group’s vision, mission and values?”
Captain Halavins: “It starts from the moment someone walks in the door and we have a consistent induction approach – providing local as well as global information about the organisation. Our performance development process helps to ensure alignment as well as regular team engagement sessions, which covers everything from local to Group information.”
Muriel: “What are you doing to attract and retain competent and highly skilled shipping professionals?”
Captain Halavins: “This is something that is very important to V.Group – investing in our people ashore and at sea to create the best team in the industry and to of course attract future talent. We already invest in a global graduate programme and have a number of cadet programmes running in key locations. With our professional HR systems and processes and a global platform and an investment in innovative technological solutions for the future – we are working hard to attract and retain the talent we need to be the best maritime outsource partner in the world.”
Muriel: “You said in one of your speeches: “Competent people make a difference” and you also strive for visible leadership. According to you, how can we develop visible leadership in Shipping?”
Captain Halavins: “Visible leadership – for me – is about demonstrating commitment to a culture of quality and transparency. It’s about listening to feedback and taking time to continually improve through feedback. And of course, that starts with safety leadership – creating a safe working environment will lead to confidence and competence across the board.”
Muriel: “Can you tell me some of the best lessons you learnt throughout your career at sea?”
Captain Halavins: “The best lesson I learned was understating of the fact that common sense is not that common. Some people learn this in very hard way but if you keep said assumption in mind then many things may run easier for you and for others. You also learn responsibility and accountability being on board as you are responsible for the most expensive assets any Company may have – seafarers. These skills are helping me in my shore career and no doubt my sea going experience was a great ground for me to develop the best team in the world sharing our values on safe and effective operations of the fleet.”
Captain Alex Halavins is the General Manager of V.Ships Ltd.
He has over 17 years of shipping experience including senior managerial positions both on board and ashore being engaged in various activities related to Operations, Technical, Vetting and Crewing.
He commenced his career on oil tankers and had been sailing exclusively on various types of oil, chemical and gas tankers from AB/Pumpman up to the Master’s rank on foreign going vessels.
In addition to holding a Master Mariner Certificate of Competence, he also has a Degree in Technical Operations of the Fleet from the UK and had been acting as a Project Manager in Dubai Dry Docks. He joined V.Group as Marine Superintendent followed by promotion to Head of Marine Assurance in 2009 (at the age of 28) and had been taken over as General Manager / Managing Director of V.Ships Ltd from 2015.
His expertise area covers all aspects of ship management segments with a special focus on quality assurance, visible leadership & promoting safety culture within the industry. In addition to his engagement with V.Group activities world-wide, he has been also appointed as Chairman of HSEQ Sub-committee with Cyprus Shipping Chamber, remains an active speaker for the shipping events and forms part of various technical & operational committees.
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Muriel Matta (BSc, MSc, MPhil, Cert CTT Practitioner) is the Founder of Maravilhosa.
She is a multilingual Human Resources Management expert, with extensive cross-cultural experience, spanning 26 years in MENA, Europe and CIS.
Through her work with Organizations and Individuals, she helps solve the toughest HR challenges by customizing unique training and coaching solutions to inspire change, positive thinking and transformation.
Muriel can be contacted via email: Muriel@maravilhosa.net