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Leading on the Edge: Extraordinary Stories and Leadership Insights from The World's Most Extreme Workplace by Rachael Robertson

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Chapter 17      image

Step up onto the balcony — but you'll need time and support

After the first week of life on station we had settled into a good routine. We all knew what we had to do and my deputies had started stepping up to ‘protect’ my time. I had spoken to them during one of our catch-ups and told them that for my own sanity, and so I could keep a helicopter view of the station, I needed to be freed from the daily barrage of requests so I would need their support.

Loyal deputies

They were surprised at first. Previous Station Leaders appeared to favour the more heroic model and being the font of all knowledge, wisdom and decisions, and my two DSLs weren't used to this. I told them I trusted their judgement but if they needed me I would be there behind them.

It got off to a bit of a clumsy start. Howie would spot someone making a beeline towards me at dinner, jump out of his chair and almost perform a crash-tackle intercept! He was extraordinarily kind and loyal. And Ross was a ferocious ally and excellent deputy. He took his leadership duties very seriously. Before long, most people took the hint and we gradually managed to direct people to their line manager on station in the first instance.

As summer progressed it started to warm up and before long we were enjoying beautiful weather. It was stunning. We had gotten so used to the cold that when the thermometer hit 9 °C we were ...

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