Continuing investment in personal development and leadership

Theo Klimp, Fleet Director at Wagenborg Shipping: “The challenges Wagenborg faces demand committed people who want to connect up with our values and who really do want to work for us. Leadership by our managers plays an important role in this, because they have to ensure that employees enjoy their work every day and can do what they’re good at, and in such a way as to make a real contribution to Wagenborg. So strengthening leadership skills throughout the organisation is essential in order to prepare Wagenborg for the future.”

In 2016, the management of Wagenborg Shipping therefore launched a pilot project for the “Personal Development Programme” (PDP). That leadership programme is based on Royal Wagenborg’s “Vision for Leadership”. The basic idea is that leading others effectively and acting as an example for them requires an understanding of one’s own beliefs, values, and behaviour. The first module in the programme is therefore devoted entirely to “Leading Yourself and by Example”. It will probably be followed by modules on “Leading Others” and “Leading the Business and Change”. 


Two groups of colleagues were selected for the pilot project. Because we want to strengthen the link between shore and fleet, each 13-person group consisted of both captains and office staff. We began with the captains because of their impact on board. In the longer term, we would like to have other on-board senior officers take part. The office staff comprised people who are in close daily contact with our ships. Both captains and this group of office staff play a key role when it comes to implementing and reinforcing “Good Seamanship” in actual practice.

Both groups have now completed the “Leading Yourself and by Example” module. Two two-day sessions were held at Wagenborg’s headquarters in Delfzijl, with colleagues from China, Russia, Ukraine, Romania, Spain, Sweden, and the Netherlands taking part in a varied programme, with personal experience being shared and personal insight developed. In addition to a number of important suggestions for improving the programme, we received a great deal of positive feedback from the participants. 

Management has therefore decided to continue the programme in 2017, again for two groups. Recognising that our employees, particularly those in senior positions, play a crucial role in achieving quality and safety – top priorities in our day-to-day work – means that continuing to invest in personal development and leadership is the key to success for the future. 

“A valuable programme to encourage cooperation and involvement through mutual understanding. A very positive atmosphere, with open and honest discussions”

“Fantastic, really educational, and definitely a very valuable way to give deeper meaning to Good Seamanship. It brings people together. I truly believe that this course will do a lot for Wagenborg in the long term”