July 2020
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Management Lessons From Antarctica

Wednesday, July 8, 2020

Management is never easy, but the global health crisis has made this task particularly challenging. So where can we look for advice and answers? How about Antarctica? Rachael Robertson was the station leader at Davis Station, Antarctica, where she managed a wide array of individuals from different backgrounds, different skill sets, different generations, different religions, and different genders in nearly complete isolation. While her leadership challenges were more extreme than many, the lessons learned from this harsh environment can be applied to the challenges many leaders now find themselves in. First, Robertson says, there should be no triangles. The simple mantra went like this: “I don’t speak to you about him, or you don’t speak to me about her.” During conflict, go directly to the source to avoid unnecessary drama. Secondly, manage small disputes before they become major issues. Seemingly small, irrelevant issues can grate on people until they become serious conflicts that can hamstring productivity. Identify these conflicts early and resolve them quickly. Finally, find reasons to celebrate. Small successes should be recognized, and team members should be praised for the hard work they do, particularly during times of crisis and upheaval.

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Very true! I tell my participants in management classes, "if you want to kill department morale, talk about your employees to each other." Also agree very much with addressing things as they happen, doing an ostrich never helps.
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