“Life and Death Leadership Lessons”

 Sir Ernest Shackleton had to make Life and Death Descions to save His Crew

Sir Ernest Shackleton had to make Life and Death Decisions to save His Crew

Sir Ernest Shackleton’s most spectacular exploration attempt was the crossing of the Antarctica in 1914.  It ended however when his ship was crushed in the ice of the Weddell Sea.  Caught adrift on a melting ice floe for five months before reaching a small island, Shackleton and his 27 men faced the unrelenting cold with slim provisions and flimsy tents.

Shackleton then picked a small group to voyage 800 miles over treacherous seas in a rickety lifeboat to a whaling station.  He found another ship, packed it with provisions and returned to rescue the rest of his crew.  He succeeded in keeping every man alive for 634 harrowing days.

Sir Ernest Shackleton modeled through his exploring career, true principles of leadership that became “Life and Death” lessons for all leaders.  Lessons that saved both his life and the lives of his crew.  Here are Shackleton’s “Life and Death” Leadership Lessons:

1)  Communicate
Immediately after the ship sank, Shackleton addressed his crew, candidly assessing their situation but also detailing a plan of action.  He recognized that clear and precise communication is a Life and Death policy for all leaders.  If you want people to follow you, communicate clearly and consistently.

2)  Maintain your leadership
You can only imagine that as time wore on, the crew began to lose heart.  They must have questioned his leadership and his decision.  But through it all, he remained steadfast, he was the leader and he was unwavering in his position.

3)  Remain optimistic
Shackleton was known for his upbeat attitude, which instilled confidence and a winning spirit among the crew.  Even in the middle of the night, when doubt or fear knocked on his heart, Sir Ernest remained optimistic about the circumstances he faced.

4)  Involve everyone
Shackleton involved everyone in the mission.  He made sure that each member felt important and that their role mattered.  He involved everyone because he realized that people support what they help to create.

5)  Demand teamwork
He continually reinforced the message “we are one – we live or die together.”  He understood the power and need for teamwork.  To be a part of his crew meant you worked as a team, it wasn’t optional it was a requirement.  Teamwork was a “Life or Death” Leadership Lesson he couldn’t live without…literally.

Challenge yourself and challenge your leaders to live by these “Life and Death” lessons.  As you climb your way to the top of your dreams don’t forget these lessons in leadership, they could literally mean “Life or Death” for your vision.

Until next time,

Chris Sonksen

Quote for the Day:

“Empower the PEOPLE around you to win and they will make you a winner.”
Michelle Weir

Chris Sonksen is a celebrated Motivational Speaker and Published Author; the Lead Pastor at one of America’s fastest growing churches (South Hills Church in Corona California); and the founding member of Celera Church Strategy Group. Celera offers pastor support, teaching, training and mentoring programs that equip pastors who want to learn how to grow church attendance through evangelism using proven church growth techniques.


About Chris Sonksen

Chris Sonksen is the founder and Lead Pastor of South Hills Church and has an exceptional ability to inspire both secular and non-secular audiences. Under his leadership, South Hills has experienced phenomenal growth and in just a few short years has grown from a handful of people to nearly 3000 in attendance today. Today South Hills has become a thriving, multi-service and multi-site church. Chris has a magnetic, captivating and humorous style for motivating and inspiring all audiences. As a motivational speaker, he has spoken both nationally and internationally in companies such as Verizon, Securitas and Home Depot, and there is no doubt that by applying his teachings, his audience will improve the quality of their lives! Chris is the author of two books In Search of Higher Ground and Handshake. Chris is the founder of Celera Church Strategy Group an organization with an unwavering commitment to excellence in all things, with the goal to “raise the national average of church attendance,” by equipping church leaders with resources and coaching. Chris brings high-energy focus and a passion for vision and leadership to encourage and equip the local Church. Chris is a native Californian, born in Long Beach and currently resides in Corona with his wife, Laura and their two children, Grace and Aidan.

Posted on June 7, 2009, in choices, Leadership, Personal Growth and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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