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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 18      image

Ambiguity and leadership go hand in hand

One of the biggest challenges for an expedition leader is to set the right tone for our combined work and home environment. There are obvious, generally accepted standards for the workplace. We are firm about bullying, choice of language, viewing of unsuitable material and, in general, being politically sensitive. ‘Political correctness’ has had a bad name since the expression emerged in the 1990s, but I really believe it in it. I don't use it in conversation, though. I use the term ‘respect’, which is basically what political correctness boils down to. It is mostly self-evident how to show respect to your colleagues when you're at work, but at home you make your own rules.

What you did at home back in 2004 was largely your own business. You could shout at the cat, drink yourself silly, swear like a sailor and basically do whatever you want, and your boss wouldn't know or care. As long as you fronted up to work on time and got through your work, then what happened at home stayed at home. This demarcation has been eroded since the advent of social media, smartphones and the permanent connectedness we now ‘enjoy’.

Still, in 2004 work and home were very, very distinct. But when your workplace is your home, as at Davis, that distinction completely disappears. ‘Home’ is reduced to the small room you sleep in. This means that most ...

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