Table of Contents

Extreme Leadership

Extreme Leadership

Leaders, Teams and Situations Outside the Norm

New Horizons in Leadership Studies series

Edited by Cristina M. Giannantonio and Amy E. Hurley-Hanson

Much has been written about how leaders and teams function in traditional business settings, but there is comparatively scant literature on the behaviors of leaders and teams facing extreme situations: that is, situations that fall outside the scope of daily experience. This book presents cases drawn from a diverse set of non-traditional and extreme leadership scenarios, offering a fresh perspective on both leadership research and management practice.

Chapter 1: Extreme leadership: lessons from Ernest Shackleton and the Endurance expedition

Cristina M. Giannantonio and Amy E. Hurley-Hanson

Subjects: politics and public policy, leadership


In 1914 Sir Ernest Shackleton set sail from London for Antarctica aboard the HMS Endurance. Having lost the race to the South Pole, Shackleton planned a polar expedition which would be the first to cross the Antarctic continent. Well aware of the dangers of polar expeditions, even Shackleton could not have predicted the extreme events that befell the Endurance Expedition. He earned his place in history not because he was the first to discover the South Pole, nor the first to cross Antarctica. Instead, Shackleton is remembered as a courageous leader who faced unfathomable challenges with optimism and conviction. Equally important, he is remembered as a compassionate leader who cared for his crew and rescued all 27 men who embarked on a remarkable journey into the unknown.THE RACE TO THE SOUTH POLEThe Heroic Age of Antarctic exploration encompasses a 25-year time span beginning in 1897 with Adrien de Gerlache’s Belgian Antarctic Expedition and ending with Ernest Shackleton’s Imperial Trans-Antarctic Expedition, of 1914–1917. During this time, 17 expeditions were commissioned from ten different countries. Nineteen explorers died on these expeditions, most from scurvy and malnutrition, but some froze to death, while others were swept overboard and lost at sea.The most notable expeditions of this time were led by Roald Amundsen, Robert Falcon Scott and Ernest Shackleton. They were three very different men, and although they earned their spot in history for three ;0;0?>very different reasons, they shared a common goal: to be the first to reach the South Pole.