Only a Transformational Leader Can Relate to This Story
Leadership is exploring an untrodden path. You walk on rough terrains with limited means. The road in front of you is never-ending and with sharp bends. You try to make the most of the daylight. Some of the places you can pause and rest. But you must continuously find a better position for your team to get to the top. Resources are scarce, but you must motivate the members to keep moving toward the peak. While this is an example of a journey to Antarctica, a transformational leader faces the same challenges in today’s highly competitive business environment. In this strategy + business article, Daniel Akst shares lessons from transformational leader Ernest Shackleton, the Anglo-Irish Antarctic explorer.
Journey of a Transformational Leader
Leading by Example
Shackleton was nicknamed ‘the Boss’ by his team members. He demanded a lot from others to reach the South Pole, notwithstanding the harsh, inhabitable climate. But the Boss also pushed himself the hardest. Furthermore, his team members knew he was ready to put his life on the line for them.
During the journey, what seemed like a flat land to the expedition team was actually a dangerous crevice covered in ice. Many such instances stopped the explorer from reaching the Pole three times. However, he did not lose his heart and persevered as a transformational leader. Additionally, Endurance, the vessel, was stranded in thick ice. But he sailed 800 miles on a 22-feet boat and saved all on board.
He also made terrible decisions. Shackleton did not have specific instructions to the return ship crew that would pick them up from the Pole. He later charged visitors exhibition fees to explore the ship and donated the amount to charity. Some of the crew members did not get paid by then.
Choosing Team Over Self
Fellow explorer Frank Wild narrated how Shackleton gave his share of one breakfast biscuit. “Thousands of pounds would not have bought that one biscuit,” Wild recognized.
The Boss came out as a transformational leader when he acknowledged defeat. Once, they were only 97 miles from their destination. But moving forward would have been fatal for the hungry, disease-ridden team. So, he turned back and saved several lives to return on the journey another day.
To view the original article in full, visit the following link: https://www.strategy-business.com/blog/Leadership-when-the-chips-are-down
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