Shackleton understanding of psychology played a big part in saving the lives of his team.  He appreciated the importance of understanding the team’s physical as well as psychological needs.

  • On the hike over the mountains of South Georgia, his two team members wanted to rest. Shackleton knew that this would be the end of them and his crew stuck on Elephant Island. He let them sleep for five minutes and then woke them up, saying they had slept for 30 minutes.
  • On the famous boat trip, he took two members who would be of no use but could not be left behind. These two were the negative soothsayers who would have poisoned the minds of those left on Elephant Island.
  • His selection of crews on the escape from the sinking ice-floe took account of the dynamics of the friendships, the seamanship, and finally the state of the boats.  One team had to handle a constantly sinking boat.
  • He would sow a seed if he thought a change might be inevitable.


You may wish to read an extract from my Winning Leadership Whitepaper, this paper can be purchased from my website.