Tuesday 29 January 2019, Edinburgh

Taking the group through Shackleton’s polar expedition Gary Muir lead an interactive session about leadership and management.  Using examples from Shackleton’s 497 day expedition Gary showed how different leadership skills can be applied in different situations, including the world of professional services.

The session got everyone thinking about the type of leader they would like to be (and have) and what Leadership means to them.  Collaborative, inspirational and direction were some of the commons themes for good leader traits. Another trait was being a team player which Shackleton displayed on his journey, he was affectionately known as the ‘Boss’ but didn’t want special treatment and often did roles that needed done even if wasn’t necessary the bosses’ job.

In small groups we were asked to think about an individual who we regarded as a good leader and why.  The leaders ranged from the Obamas to Chairman of one of the law firms. Sport produces many leaders and our session highlighted three of them; Sir Alex Fergusson, Sir Gareth Southgate and Sir Andy Murray.  The terms used for highlighting these sporting stars included empathy, personal experience, inspires and encouragement.  To me this shows that there isn’t one personality that makes a good leader, everyone is different but all have qualities that make good leaders.

The session then looked at the 9 points on a Leadership Compass.  The points include that leaders are willing to venture in new directions, are bold in vision and learn from part mistakes (their own and others). 

Gary concluded the meeting by highlighting 4 skills Shackleton used during the expedition and which we can all apply in our firms:

Reinforce the team message constantly and minimise differences – realise that you don’t need to let everyone know all the details all at once

Set and maintain an optimistic tone but be realistic – explain what is happening and provide reassurance to the team

Have fun and find things to celebrate – look for the small wins and well as the big target

Be willing to take risk and never give up.

Like Shackleton, successful leaders leave a legacy, what will yours be?

Gillian Stobo 
Business Development Team Manager, UK Locations
for Pinsent Masons LLP