A critical evaluation of Ernest Shackleton’s leadership
in relation to the 8 taught leadership theories.
Leadership theories are today very prominent in society, from business, to the military, and even within politics. This essay will look at Ernest Shackleton’s leadership style through differing theories of leadership. It will include a brief outline of Shackleton’s expedition, followed by the two main types of leadership which he displayed before then looking more in depth at how Shackleton led up until he reached elephant island through the interpersonal development of his men and the decisions he made as a leader. Sir Ernest Henry Shackleton, was born on the 15th February 1874 and died on the 5th January 1922 and was an Anglo-Irish polar explorer. His first experience of the Polar Regions was as third officer on Captain Robert Falcon Scott's Discovery Expedition, 1901–04, from which he was sent home early on health grounds. Determined to make amends for this personal failure, he returned to Antarctica in 1907 as leader of the Nimrod Expedition. In January 1909 he and three companions made a southern march which established a record farthest South latitude from the South Pole, by far the closest convergence in exploration history up to that time. After the race to the South Pole ended in 1912 with Roald Amundsen's conquest, Shackleton turned his attention to what he said was the one remaining great object of Antarctic journeying—the crossing of the continent from sea to sea, via the pole. To this end he made preparations for what became the Imperial Trans-Antarctic Expedition, 1914–17. Disaster struck this expedition when its ship, Endurance, became trapped in pack ice and was slowly crushed before the shore parties could be landed. There followed a sequence of exploits, and an ultimate escape with no loss of life, that would eventually assure Shackleton's heroic status as a leader and explorer.1 One of the leadership styles most used by Shackleton was...
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