Like many around the world, I’m totally captivated by Jacinda Ardern, the courageous Prime Minister of New Zealand. She has shown remarkable leadership in the wake of the atrocious terrorist attack that took place in the city of Christchurch, where at least 50 Muslim worshippers were killed and another 50 wounded.
Here are three leadership traits she’s demonstrated that every leader should learn from:
1. Courage and decisiveness:
Ms. Ardern acted quickly and without hesitation. Just a few hours after the attack, she addressed the perpetrators directly saying, “You may have chosen us, but we utterly condemn and reject you." She also added, “These are people I would describe as having extremist views that have absolutely no place in New Zealand, have no place in the world.”
She united her country in mourning and sadness. The incident could have easily created a social rift, but instead, through her tactful leadership, she united the nation. It’s hard to imagine any of today’s right-wing leaders in the East or West being able to handle such a crisis in so skilful a way.
But her decisiveness did not stop there, within just a few days after the terrorist attack she banned all assault rifles and military-style semi-automatics! She even banned parts that can be converted into semi-automatic guns. This woman is nothing less than remarkable.
2. Humility and Charisma:
Soon after the incident the Prime Minister met with the families of the victims, and she did it wearing a hijab, no less. She hugged the victims and held their hands, reducing everyone around her to tears. In more than one occasion she walked and talked among the people, making time for them and listening to them with intent.
Her Charisma enchanted people around the world and even promted the UAE to display her photo on Burj Khalifa, the tallest tower in the world.
3. Empathy and compassion:
This is perhaps her greatest strength. Ms. Ardern displayed so much empathy you’d think she lost members of her own family. But then again, as Prime Minister and being “mother of the nation” of sorts, you could argue that she did lose members of her own family. She showed her sensitive/feminine side without hesitation. And in my view, she managed to singlehandedly reduce Islamophobia in her country and around the world by several notches. In fact, she displayed all the traits that make up extraordinary leaders that I mention in my TEDx talk below.
Thank you Jacinda for making the world a better place.
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