Scott C. Hammond
8 June 2016
Was Ernest Shackleton a Good Leader?
The story of Ernest Shackleton is one that defies all odds. The fated quest of the Endurance and its crew is a lesson of perseverance, intuition, social skill, and adaptability. Shackleton’s integrity was challenged before the Endurance even left port in England with the start of World War I. The captain was willing to sacrifice men and ship for the war effort after months of preparation and planning. He was a man that was searching for greatness, while keeping things simple and calm. At the core of this born leader’s personality was optimism and with generosity combined with sympathy for the crew, he made everyone feel like they were…show more content…
He knew how close his crew members were to these animals but had to give the men their best chance at survival. Giving them not what they wanted, but what they needed. As the crew rowed towards Deception Island, being completely overwhelmed, some of the men broke down and wept. Shackleton changed his course and headed to the closer Elephant Island. He cared deeply for his men and their emotional state and knew that bitter tears were poison for the morale of the crew.
The last and most important characteristic of Shackleton’s leadership qualities was his ability to instill hope and optimism in a situation that was really very bleak. Imagine being stuck in an endless expanse of pack ice, having your only mode of transportation getting smashed to bits, being hundreds of miles from civilization and thousands of miles from home. Imagine slowly starving. With not enough food or water to go around so you have to shoot your companion dogs and march to an area in the ice where you can put your boats in the freezing water and row over waves and weather for days just to find yourself on an island with little resources. Now imagine your leader leaving in search of rescue and not returning for several months. What kept these men going in such dire circumstances? Hope. “Hope is an essential and renewable resource that is generated through positive interaction with others. We cannot survive without it. Hope is the fuel generated by our