New Zealand’s Prime Minister May Be the Most Effective Leader on the Planet. 39 year old Jacinda Ardern’s leadership style, focused on empathy, isn’t just resonating with her people; it’s putting the country on track for success against Covid-19.
Helen Clark, New Zealand’s former prime minister says: New Zealanders might think “Well, I don’t quite understand why [the government] did that, but I know she’s got our back. There’s a high level of trust and confidence in her because of that empathy.”
One of Ardern’s innovations has been Facebook live chats that are informal, informative. During a session just as New Zealand prepared to go on lockdown, she appeared in a well-worn sweatshirt at her home (she had just put her toddler daughter to bed, she explained) to offer guidance “as we all prepare to hunker down.”
She sympathized with how alarming it must have been to hear the “loud honk” that preceded the emergency alert messages all New Zealanders had just received informing them that life as they knew it was temporarily over.
She justified severe policies with practical examples: She said, she knows as a parent it’s really hard to avoid playgrounds, but the virus can live on surfaces for 72 hours.
Leadership lessons from a successful woman leader: empathy and communication that connects.