053: 5 Lessons in Adventurous Leadership from Lewis & Clark: America’s Greatest Explorers

by Joe Sherwood on September 5, 2013

Undaunted CourageAs leaders, we’re often asking people to go into uncharted territory with us. Twenty years ago, Amazon didn’t exist … today it is the most trusted company in the world. To accomplish that, Jeff Bezos is constantly leading his team into new adventures. What can we learn from the leadership of America’s greatest explorers, Lewis and Clark?

“Where he [Meriwether Lewis] was unique, truly gifted, and truly great was as an explorer, where all his talents were necessary. The most important was his ability as a leader of men.” – Stephen E. Ambrose, biographer of Meriwether Lewis

Lewis and Clark did the impossible when they led a platoon of 30+ men, plus one married couple and their child, across the uncharted two-thirds of the North American continent in 1803-1806. In this episode, we discuss five leadership qualities that were essential to their success (and survival):

  1. Honesty
  2. Perseverance
  3. Emotional intelligence (at least as far as other white males were involved)
  4. Shared decision-making
  5. Purpose-driven

Jesse also answers a listener’s question about episode 52:

Mark asks, “You explained the why and how of storytelling, but I’m wondering when. As a leader in a large company, I am frequently communicating good news, bad news, important information, and changes. Do I need a story every time?

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