Great Leaders

The harsh challenges of Covid-19 have seen an epic struggle for survival by large and small businesses and those in charge have faced a long-running trial of their abilities.

Working in such a cruel commercial climate, in conditions detrimental to economic wellbeing, has brought to my mind the mythic advertisement placed by Ernest Shackleton for his Endurance expedition to the Antarctic before the First World War:

Men wanted for hazardous journey. Low wages, bitter cold, long hours of complete darkness. Safe return doubtful. Honour and recognition in event of success.

Further thoughts on his heroic survival in the face of adversity were inspired by the Shackleton story appearing on TV this week in Endurance: The Hunt for Shackleton’s Ice Ship.

In John Adair’s new edition of his masterly book, Great Leaders – Inspirational Lessons in Leadership, he illustrates Shackleton’s qualities as a leader and goes on to quote one of the men stating, ‘when you are in a hopeless situation, when there seems no way out, get down on your knees and pray for Shackleton.’

These are testing times for managers and leaders and, as Adair points out in his book, ‘extreme conditions are the real test of great leadership’. We are indeed finding this out the hard way as we battle our way through the pandemic. Political and business bosses are being tested as never before. In both spheres, our leaders are being found to be wanting. It’s a pity they can’t all have a one-to-one session with John Adair, urgently!

In business, great leadership now is more about the survival of a business during inclement economic circumstances than it is about worrying whether the budget will be met. It is a ‘hazardous journey …’

If you hold any position of authority in your firm, developing your leadership skills has never been more crucial. I recommend, without hesitation, that you read John’s book, Great Leaders – as it is full of insights into leadership and the qualities needed to take us through the tough times ahead.

My own salutation to John and a possible tagline for any marketing copy is: WHO ADAIRS, WINS. That can apply to you and your business, too.

Published on Jan 15, 2021 by Neil Thomas