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Shackleton's Way of Handling a Crisis

In the 1950s, Dr. Macklin described how Shackleton handled the crisis when a summer storm left Endurance trapped in a floating sea of ice. In the physician's account, we catch a glimpse of the frustration and anxiety that threatened to engulf

Endurance trapped.

the ship.

According to Macklin, "We could see our base, maddening, tantalizing. Shackleton, at this time, showed one of his sparks of real greatness.

He did not rage at all or show outwardly the slightest sign of disappointment. He told us simply and calmly that we must winter in the pack. He explained its dangers and possibilities. He never lost his optimism and prepared for winter."


Shackleton called the entire crew together so everyone would hear about the situation directly from him. By addressing the "dangers and possibilities," he made clear that he was sharing a realistic assessment of their circumstances. He did not leave room for misunderstandings or negative spin by the pessimists onboard.


"He did not rage at all or show outwardly the slightest sign of disappointment." The Boss modeled the calm, matter-of-fact attitude he wanted his crew to adopt.


Shackleton announced they were going to rearrange the ship so they would be warmer and more comfortable during the coming winter months. The task gave the crew something to take their minds off their concerns while they adjusted to the new circumstances.


"He never lost his optimism and prepared for winter."

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