Shackleton’s Way – Legendary leadership model

One of the most impressive Leadership books I have read in recent times. For those who have not read this classic book, or have not heard about Sir Ernest Henry Shackleton, let me try and give an overview.

In the 1914’s Sir Shackleton started off on a mission to reach the cross the Antarctic Continent – South Pole was already discovered by then. He failed at his goal, his ship was wrecked even before it touched the Antarctic mainland, braved one of the most inhospitable environments on the Earth for more than 2 years (19 months), managed to keep his entire 27 man strong crew alive throughout these 2 years – and successfully managed to get them back alive.

Shackleton never reached the South Pole, a goal he had started out with – but still is a legendary model of leadership. Why? Because he survived the impossible. His real life story is a tribute to the human spirit and endurance.

While reading this book, I was totally overwhelmed with a sense of respect for Shackleton. His acute sense of reading the human mind, what makes people tick, keeping the crew from mutiny and killing each other by engaging them in certain well thought of activities – while constantly thinking of how to get every one safely out of there and many many more testing situations – is leadership tested to it’s very hilt; and Shackleton rose to the occasion.

Apart from being a very inspiring book, I feel that at the beginning of the new century, it has relevant lessons for all of us. The spirit of exploration, braving new frontiers, challenging yourself, innovating, venturing into new territory – are aspects that we are faced with at this time of Global change and new opportunities.

There is a tremendous take home value for anyone who ‘is’ or ‘would be’ leading a team of people. Lessons for all kinds of situations – HR, managing employee morale, advertising (see below the ad he wrote for inviting people to join him in the expedition – almost perfect), managers, crisis management, strategic planning, self leadership, braving the unexpected etc.

Shackleton’s ‘Men Wanted’ Ad:
“Men wanted for hazardous journey. Low wages, bitter cold, long hours of complete darkness. Safe return doubtful. Honour and recognition in event of success.”

Outstanding book and my bible for Leadership. Highly recommended!!

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