Jacinda Kate Laurell Ardern is the current Prime Minister of New Zealand. She has been called an “authentic” leader – open, honest and effective. She has recently received high praise for her handling of the COVID-19 crisis. “Her messages are clear, consistent, and somehow simultaneously sobering and soothing. And her approach isn’t just resonating with her people on an emotional level. It is also working remarkably well.”
Ms. Ardern was on my shortlist as soon as I read about her handling of a mass shooting at a mosque with assault rifles. 50 people were murdered in that tragedy, and within less than a week, assault rifles had been banned. To quote an article about her balance of empathy and action: “Yet in the aftermath of the Christchurch attack, Ardern has voiced her nation’s grief with admirable compassion and resolve. Her caring and authentic response, firmly rejecting racism and erasing the attacker from the national debate, demonstrated a deep empathy when matched with her swift actions to enact comprehensive reform. It is this pairing of compassion with immediate action that has proven each to be genuine.”
I have pictured her smiling, as someone who has chosen the role of public servant and politician. I imagine her genuinely caring about everyone and always being ready with a heartwarming smile.