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Leading at the Edge

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Leading at the Edge

Leadership Lessons from the Extraordinary Saga of Shackleton's Antarctic Expedition


15 mins. de lectura
10 ideas fundamentales
Texto disponible

¿De qué se trata?

When your business seems marooned and your team is starting to panic, think of Sir Ernest Shackleton, who kept his 27 men focused, united and energized while stranded on ice and eating penguins. Now, that’s leadership.

Editorial Rating



  • Background
  • Engaging
  • Inspiring


When British explorer Sir Ernest Shackleton was busy saving his crew after a shipwreck in the Antarctic in 1914, you would guess that he wasn’t thinking much about teaching leadership lessons. But author Dennis N.T. Perkins uses Shackleton’s expedition to show how the leadership principles the explorer exercised can be applied to your work. He even adds modern case studies as illustration. This excellent book is at its best when it describes Shackleton’s courageous rescue. He led his men to safety through a frozen wilderness by focusing on the ultimate goal of survival, setting a personal example, overcoming conflict, minimizing status differences, stressing teamwork and applying other essential leadership qualities. Though the principles may sound familiar, the book provides a dramatic new view of them, and it is written in a clear, crisp style. getabstract recommends it to all corporate explorers.


Shackleton’s 10 Leadership Principles

In 1913 and 1914, two expeditions set out to explore frozen wildernesses. Canadian anthropologist Vilhjalmur Stefansson sailed in the Karluk to explore northern Canada, while Sir Ernest Shackleton sailed on the Endurance from the island of South Georgia to attempt the first overland crossing of Antarctica. Both ships soon were trapped in pack ice, but the expeditions had very different outcomes. Stefansson’s crew disintegrated into a group of self-interested individuals who resorted to lying, cheating and theft to further their personal survival, and 11 of them died. By contrast, the crew of the Endurance worked together as a team under Shackleton’s leadership and all survived, despite tremendous hardship.

Shackleton followed these 10 key leadership principles:

  1. Always keep the ultimate goal in mind, while you focus energy on short-term goals.
  2. Use visible and memorable symbols and behaviors to set a personal example.
  3. Inspire others to feel optimistic and self-confident, yet stay in touch with reality.
  4. Stay strong; don’t feel guilty about taking care...

About the Authors

Dennis N. T. Perkins, Ph.D.  is President of the Syncretics Group, a consulting organization serving large corporate clients and focusing on effective leadership in demanding environments. He has a B.S. from the U.S. Naval Academy, an M.B.A. from Harvard University and a Ph.D. from the University of Michigan. Margaret P. Holtman  is director of employee development at Hartford Life. Paul R. Kessler is a managing consultant at Stromberg Consulting. Catherine McCarthy, Ph.D. , is a consultant with Organizational Psychologists.

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