Axim Insight: Leadership, from the Antarctic to the Office

107 years after it sank, the expedition ship Endurance was recently found 3,000 meters under the Weddell Sea in Antarctica. The discovery of explorer Ernest Shackleton's lost vessel has brought the astonishing story of the wreck back into the limelight, providing us an opportunity to look at the legacy of this great leader, and learn what we can from his example.

In an extremely precarious scenario such as the one Shackleton and his crew found themselves in, shipwrecked in the Antarctic and hundreds of miles from help, the difference between life and death came down largely to Shackleton's level head and sound guidance in the midst of catastrophe. Despite the conditions, after twenty months at sea, every single one of the Endurance crew returned home safely, a testament to Shackleton's leadership.

So what can we learn from Ernest Shackleton and the Endurance? Although most of us probably won't find ourselves shipwrecked in Antarctica for months on end, Shackleton's approach is applicable in many leadership environments. Here at Axim, our own brave leader, Karol Steczkowski, is sharing his insight into the best lessons budding leaders can take away from one of the greatest leadership stories in over a century.

  1. Formulate a clear, shared goal, and make sure everyone is on board.

  2. Inspire optimism on a daily basis, no matter the circumstances.

  3. Build unity in informal ways to improve trust and communication among your team.

  4. Be flexible and able to pivot at a moment's notice.

  5. Delegate appropriately and know how to utilize your team effectively.

  6. Conceal your anxiety and present only a positive face to your team in moments of stress.

  7. Remember that you serve the team, not the other way around.

  8. Eat last.

Lessons in leadership come from all places — understanding how individuals who have succeeded in stressful situations against incredible odds can teach us more about how to lead than any textbook or course.