Leading on the EdgeExtraordinary Stories and Leadership Insights from The World's Most Extreme Workplace
Lessons on authentic leadership from the 58th annual Antarctic expedition In Leading on the Edge, successful business speaker and consultant Rachael Robertson shares the lessons she learned as leader of a year-long expedition to the wilds of Antarctica. Leading eighteen strangers around the clock for a full year—through months of darkness and with no escape from the frigid cold, howling winds, and each other—Robertson learned powerful lessons about what real, authentic leadership is. Here, she offers a deeply honest and humorous account of what it takes to survive and lead in the harshest environment on Earth. What emerges from her graphic account is a series of powerful and practical lessons for business leaders and managers everywhere. Features practical leadership lessons that are particularly helpful for any leader who must get the best out of the team they've got Features solutions to many challenges common to all workplaces Includes real excerpts from Robertson's personal journals through twelve months of leading in the most challenging environment in the world Written by a popular speaker and business leader who has appeared at more than 350 national and international conferences and events for a wide range of industries Leading on the Edge explains what it's like to take charge when you've no place to hide and how truly harsh environments can serve as a leadership laboratory that results in truly effective, authentic leadership.
A note from the author vii Acknowledgements ix Preface xi Part I: How I got there 1 1 Leadership can be learned, and taught, early 3 2 Very few decisions in life are irreversible, so make some! 11 3 Always look for ways to extend yourself 19 4 Get out of your depth — it’s a great way to learn to swim 25 5 Don’t expect leadership to be an easy ride 31 Part II: Antarctica beckons 37 6 Sometimes the right thing happens for the wrong reason! 39 7 People notice when you try to be someone you’re not 47 8 You know people by what they do, not what they say they do 55 9 First prepare yourself, then leave your comfort zone 63 Part III: Preparing to leave 71 10 Seeing what’s wrong is easy — the hard part is the fix 73 11 Understand the game, and play your hand carefully 85 12 Ask ‘why?’, then keep asking why 95 13 Adventure is not without risk 105 14 Try to stay positive: even the stormiest seas eventually subside 111 15 A handpicked support team can be essential 119 Part IV: Summer in Antarctica 127 16 Make the right decision the right way 129 17 Step up onto the balcony — but you’ll need time and support 137 18 Ambiguity and leadership go hand in hand 145 19 Feeling stressed and overworked? It could be your boundaries 153 20 Good leaders know when to show emotion 163 21 Think ahead and know what you will do in an emergency 171 22 When you’re spending all your time managing, don’t forget to lead 179 Part V: Antarctic winter 189 23 It’s important to know your people, not just the work they do 191 24 As a leader you are being watched, always 201 25 Find a reason, any reason, to celebrate 207 26 Check in on your people: ask R U OK? 219 27 Take care of the little things 227 28 Judgement comes with experience 235 29 ‘No triangles’ takes effort and persistence 241 30 Watch out for three-quarter time — keep your energy up 249 Part VI: The return 259 31 Go the distance 261 Appendix A: What it takes to be an inspirational leader 275 Appendix B: Build teamwork with ‘no triangles’ 281 Index 287
Rachael Robertson is one of the most in-demand inspirational business speakers and leadership consultants in the world. After more than 20 years' experience leading teams in complex and challenging environments, Rachael is now transforming leadership around the globe. www.rachaelrobertson.com
If you have big ambitions, then being big on the little things as a leader is critical. The little things help the important 4 letter words—care, give, team and best—come to life. Rachael is one of the best when it comes to teaching and inspiring leaders on why little things matter. —John Gillam, Managing Director, Bunnings
What can an Antarctic expedition teach you about leadership? More than you might think! If you think your job is tough, try leading a one-year expedition where you're on duty all day, every day. Where it's cold, windy, dark and desolate. And you're stuck inside with 17 strangers. Rachael Robertson was one of the youngest people to ever lead an Antarctic expedition and one of the first women. In this incredible pressure-cooker environment, Rachael was forced to develop strategies to deal with the isolation, scrutiny and demands of extreme leadership. With no way in, and no way out, she had to make it work. An inspiring leadership story packed with ideas, insights and strategies, Leading on the Edge will teach you how to: deal effectively with ambiguity and the grey areas leaders face generate trust and loyalty in those around you understand why respect is more critical than harmony check in on people, track progress and manage risk inspire through the lean times and lead through the tough times survive the scrutiny of leadership and look after yourself. Whether you lead or aspire to lead, this book is your guide to becoming an authentic, resilient, innovative leader who gets the best out of your team.
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