Michael Dos Santos, Director and Head of Operations, Indian Ocean, at Norvic Shipping, may have only been with the organization since September 2022, but his communication skills and leadership style are already empowering and uniting the company’s global team.
You have a strong reputation in the industry and particularly strong ties in the Indian Ocean region. What inspired you to join Norvic Shipping?
I worked in South Africa, Germany and Singapore before moving to Dubai. After working for a dry bulk market leader for 11 years, I wanted a new challenge because I believed that with my extensive experience, I could add value to a growing and vibrant company like Norvic Shipping.
I see potential for facilitating positive change and contributing to Norvic Shipping’s immense growth. In shipping there are always some roadblocks, bottlenecks and challenges to overcome; over the years, I have learned that with good leadership, individual training, and team development these challenges become part of the day to day. Rather than being a negative factor, they provide a positive contribution to the organization and its people.
I can help Norvic by building trust and uniting and empowering our teams. We are the middlemen between shipowners and cargo owners, and it’s important to establish direct and genuine relationships with people in our industry; shipping is a people’s business at the end of the day.
How are you advancing Norvic’s position in the market?
Once you empower people, you create value for the company. I sit with my colleagues in the Dubai office every day, listening to them, cultivating positive ideas, and balancing their workloads so they have the time to build their confidence and ability to forge stronger relationships with clients, service providers and shipowners.
I believe there are a few motivators for people to stay with or leave a company. Taking away the financial aspect, people are motivated by career progression and some sort of ownership in their role. Employees will stay with a company because they enjoy their job and have immense pride to work within the organization. This sentiment and enthusiasm flows outwards to clients, which in turn builds our brand.
Within my role, I am redesigning company policies and procedures to make them more fluid, ensuring our operations run more systematically and professionally to deliver better value to our customers. We are breaking down outdated hierarchies and ensuring that junior members of staff also have some authority, where possible, within the realms of tightly managing our risk. This speeds up internal processes, adding to the dynamic growth and strength of the operational teams.
Giving junior members some authority means that clients get quicker replies to their queries and better service. Also, peer-to-peer learning and development is amplified within the operational teams. If you have a happy team, everything starts falling into place. I am developing that going forward in the company. I’m pleased to be helping to shape our evolving DNA as Norvic really is a distinctive business.
At Norvic, we build personal, as well as professional, relationships with our clients – which creates a stronger bond between our organization and theirs.
Do you have the support of other regional managers?
We have the right management team with the right motivation and leadership skills within Norvic Shipping. Each of us has our own viewpoint, with “all roads leading to Rome” – together we identify the quickest and most profitable way to get there. We positively challenge each other to find the right method, which in turn drives the momentum of our organization. Norvic has really, really good people forming solid structures. I’d go as far to say we’re a very dynamic dream team.