Jacinda Ardern: Leading by Example

On Friday, a picture of New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern was projected on to the tallest building in the world – the Burj Khalifa skyscraper in Dubai – as a way of thanking her for her “sincere empathy and support”. This is surely the most fitting tribute to a shining example of leadership.  At a time when leaders on both sides of the Atlantic are struggling to inspire confidence, Ardern has won recognition throughout the world for her ability to unite a nation.

In the aftermath of the Christchurch shootings, Ardern has lead from the front by drawing on her emotional intelligence (EQ) to demonstrate empathy, adaptability and self-control – an example to us to all of the power of great leadership.

3 ways great leaders inspire others: 

Great Leaders are empathetic:

Ardern displayed her deep levels of empathy by wearing a hijab when she offered her heartfelt condolences to the people affected by the tragedy. She later addressed parliament with the Arabic greeting, “As-Salaam Alaikum” and spoke of her desire for peace and unity when she said, “New Zealand mourns with you. We are one.”This ability to put yourself in other people’s shoes and see things from their perspective is key to uniting people in a common goal. 

Great Leaders are agile and adaptable

Just six days after the shootings, Ardern displayed agility and resolve by exacting immediate and sweeping changes to the gun laws in New Zealand and banning all assault and military style weapons. The ability to respond quickly and effectively to changing circumstances is crucial to establishing credibility and inspiring trust in your people.

Great leaders harness their self-control

Strong leaders understand that they need to manage their own emotions in order to make rational decisions for the good of their people. At times of heightened emotion, it can be all to easy to respond with knee-jerk reactions Ardern demonstrated her high levels of self-control in the face of adversity during her speech in parliament, when she said, “Speak the names of those who were lost rather than the name of the man who took them. He may have sought notoriety but we in New Zealand will give him nothing – not even his name.”

We can only hope that President Trump and Prime Minister May are equally inspired by Ardern’s towering example of leadership and take active steps to develop their empathy, adaptability and self-control to help in their struggle to unite their divided nations.

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