The story of the Shackleton expedition has come to serve as a compelling leadership model regarding and explorer and alongside his team in their polar exploration endeavors in 1915 to the coast of Antarctica. Sir Ernest Shackleton, along with a crew of bold British men, were destined to become renowned explorers not for their unearthing explorations, but because of what they were ultimately forced to overcome in the derailment of their voyage. Shackleton and his crew embarked on their journey with tremendous courage, as no other vessel had ever reached such lengths across the globe, nor survived such rugged conditions as are ripely found in the Southern most Continent. Carried aboard their oceanic vessel Endurance, the crew sought not only uncharted territory, but also the fame and wealth that was sure to accompany their achievements in Antarctica.
This reading begins with insight and perspective into the early life of Shackleton, depicting early life events that sculpted his character and were perhaps prominent influences that developed the now endearingly regarded seaman. The prose then divulges the exploration industry of Shackleton’s time, revealing an adventurous consideration toward the idea of uncharted territory, riddled with mystery. We are provided with a thorough and detailed look at what Shackleton’s ship accompanied, including; supplies, crew and their composition. This development enables a more accurate account for what a monumental voyage this truly was for such a relatively early exploration era.
Shackleton set out with ambitions to explore the entire continent, and bring back evidence of unknown creatures, possible civilizations and unknown commodities. To their misfortune, the Endurance vessel was thrashed and stuck just before reaching the icy shores of the frozen Continent. Shackleton and his crews’ plan had been thwarted and reconstructed from a courageous adventure into the unknown to a horrific plan of survival. Their worst nightmares proved to last an incredible 18 months of striving effort to simply stay alive in the uninhabitable conditions they found themselves surrounded by. Shackleton remained at the helm of leader, and led his men through the unyielding months of desperation and survival until they were finally rescued. This display of leadership showed an unbelievable amount of courage and command, so much so that it has become a mold and model for much reference and regard to persevering leadership.
Shackleton’s aspirations toward exploration were suddenly altered to a drive to save himself, his crew and their vessel. With initial directives aimed at freeing their ice trapped ship in order to reach some rescuable location, Shackleton was again forced to reconceive his aims after the boat was ultimately submerged by the relentless ice and crashing waves. Nonetheless, Shackleton, continually adhering to his called ascendancy, portrayed a morale of positivity and seemingly incredible foresight despite any calamitous outcome that had befallen the ship and its crew. Shackleton not only helped to lead the men through a treacherous 18 months of insurmountable conditions, but also looked after their health and wellbeing in ways that went beyond the call of duty.
Shackleton assembled his crew for this monumental voyage with a desire toward a more keen, and unique result than that of other oceanic crews. Shackleton sought a crew that would collectively operate more adequately as a whole, rather than focusing on the skillset of each individual crewman. Thus, the iconic leader hoped to contain a team that operated with unisonous efforts; more overly concentrated on the unit, and not the individual, which would invoke trust and respect amongst all 27 men of the crew. This exhibition of leadership proved imperative to the extreme challenges the voyaging crew faced in the months ahead where staying alive required team efforts and collaborative support. Throughout their survival mission, Shackleton’s conclusion that walking was their only option for and toward rescue, he maintained his watch and care for his men in numerous ways. The crew captain maintained constant intervals where he monitored each crewman’s pulse, allocating individual time for each in order to provide specific counsel, while addressing necessary member revisions and adjustments that would allow a team mentality and focus. The concept of the crew’s necessity for maintaining a team like mentality and effort portrays Shackleton’s overarching success in leadership, which serves as an enlightening means for the power in numbers and the position of leader.
Shackleton’s seemingly natural ability to lead was not without strain, and although he conveyed his actions outside of his own pride, he did not commence consistently under a shell of unwavering confidence. Shackleton’s attitude and premise were all a constant effort, and an ordeal he had to maintain effort in. The tragic fate that had befallen he and his crew might have devoured spirit of most captains, but we see in the story how Shackleton overcomes his otherwise demise, and repositions his mindset from seeking fame and fortune to guiding will and achieving mere survival.
Our story begins to conclude in after detailing the many obstacles the team faced in staying alive, including leaving their floating ice refuge and eventually wading through icy currents to Elephant island, which stood more than 800 miles from any inhabitation. Exhausted and nearly frozen, it wasn’t long before the diminishing food and supplies prompted Shackleton to seek help with only five members of his crew. Despite bad timing, and horrific conditions, they set sail for the first inhabited island they were aware of. Although they were nearly sunk several times, dying of thirst, and enduring copias amounts of other strenuous measures, they finally reached South Georgia Island, where they managed another two nights stranded at sea just out of reach of the island’s shores. Once on foot, Shackleton and the 5 crewman trekked nearly 1,000 meters and a total of 26 hours. All the while, and during the seemingly doomed sail to the island, Shackleton maintained eye over the men, alleviating their worries, and nurturing their ailments. Eventually, they made contact at a whaling station on the opposite end of the island from where they had landed. The whaling station was captained by a Norwegian man, who was also a former acquaintance of Shackleton’s. The station captain took them instantly, and fed them in amazement of what he could only guess to be impossible – the journey from Elephant Island. Shackleton wasted no time in deploying a rescue mission for the remaining men left behind. The story gives detail of their humble joy, and overwhelming excitement through the rescue of every single crewman on the Endurance vessel.