2020 March

Greetings, Fellow Citizens of Earth. I bring you leadership lessons from a crisis a century ago.

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As we weather this pandemic, our connections will see us through, whether we’re 6 feet apart, on social media, or in a video call.

We need leaders everywhere with smarts, who care about our well-being.

Leaders who create connection.

Leaders like Ernest Shackleton.

Shipwrecked in Antarctica in 1915, Shackleton’s leadership presence kept his team together in a survival story lauded by historians as “incredible.” The book is a great read.
True leaders embody what they believe. Their leadership approach radiates from their body language.

In Shackleton’s time, other expeditions were also shipwrecked in Antarctica. All but his lost many lives to starvation and violence among the crew.
Shackleton’s ship the Endurance, crushed in the ice.
Photo by expedition photographer Frank Hurley.
Shackleton was able to not only keep all his men alive — he kept them happy and content — while stranded on the ice for more than 18 months.
Shackleton’s crew playing a game on the ice while shipwrecked.
Photo by expedition photographer Frank Hurley.
Based on biographies about him, it’s clear Shackleton led through his presence. There’s no doubt his crew looked to him constantly for clues as to what their future might hold. At all times, he gave off a sense of confidence and optimism that they’d survive.

Like Shackleton, your leadership presence is now more important than ever, whether you’re dealing with the new realities of working 100% virtually, managing kids at home, or on the front lines of battling the pandemic.

So I encourage you to use these skills and behaviors to be like Shackleton:

Leadership Presence Creates Connection

A relaxed, open, still body says

“I’m not afraid. I’m confident in my abilities.”

A relaxed face / soft smile and light humor (what I call “beachballs”) says

“We’re going to get through this.”

Confident, meaningful gestures say

“I have a clear idea I want to convey.”

A matter of fact tone and downward inflection say

“These are the facts. Let’s act accordingly.”

Speaking in above average volume says

“This is important.”

Direct eye contact says

“I see you as a person, not a number or a threat.”

Using someone’s name says

“You’re important to me.”

Bottom lining information says

“This is the thing to remember.”

Lead to connect, and don’t touch your face! (picture taken BEFORE the virus outbreak!:)


Pat Kirkland
Pat Kirkland Leadership
If you haven’t guessed, I love coaching people to strengthen their leadership presence.