Leadership That Doesn’t Suck

The horrific events that took place in New Zealand have rocked us all, but hasn’t Jacinda Ardern been amazing? In times of crisis it is so important to have a leader who people trust and respect. Jacinda Ardern has proved that she is such a leader.  

I have previously written about ‘Do I need to be a superhero to be a leader’ where I spoke about what the superhuman leader would look like. Up until this point there has not been a notable contemporary leader to compare this to, not anymore. Jacinda Ardern quite possibly is a superhuman leader. She is showing her nation and the world what a true leader is and my hope is that more leaders take on her ways. I truly believe that the way she leads can have such positive impact for so many. 

So, what are the outstanding characteristics that she is getting so right? 


The empathy that Jacinda has shown everyone effected by this awful, nonsensical violence in this tragic time has been real and unwavering. However, her ability to be empathetic is something that is second nature to her (according to Jacinda). Upon taking office, Ardern said that her government would be “focused, empathetic and strong”. This important trait is one that she embodies in her everyday dealings. Imagine if we had more leaders that had the ability to understand and share the feelings of another. Wowsers, that’s all I can say! 


Jacinda has shown copious amounts of compassion in the wake of these tragedies. Her kindness, support and willingness to help those effected has been something that is not seen by everyday leaders, but it is something that I hope to see embodied by more leaders in the future. 


If leaders could practice being positive and optimistic instead of focusing on the negative, people would be more likely to be engaged. At her first press conference following her election as leader, Jacinda Ardern said that the forthcoming election campaign would be one of “relentless positivity”. Following this, her party rose dramatically in opinion polls, just proving the power of positivity. Do you want to follow a leader who is positive? I do! 


Integrity is the hallmark of a person who demonstrates sound moral and ethical principles. A person who has integrity lives his or her values in relationships with co-workers, customers, and stakeholders. Honesty and trust are central to integrity. If a leader has no integrity, chances are they are not going to be trusted by those they are leading. 

Clear Communication

A leader who can be clear in the way that they communicate is going to be better understood, and accepted. This relates to both delivery and receiving of information. It is important to ensure that what you are delivering is understood and if not, make sure that you follow up to ensure that it is. Also ensure that you are available and open to receiving communication and feedback, remembering that it is a two-way street. 


Kindness encompasses what I do, but is not often seen as a leadership trait.  In fact, kindness in terms of leadership has previously been seen as a potential weakness. However, I believe that choosing kindness has the ability to make you a stand out leader. Being friendly, generous, and considerate (all important aspects of kindness) are things that we should all aim to be, especially if we are in a leadership role. Jacinda in her address to the General Assembly of United Nations called for kindness as the basis for action. Imagine the impact that kindness as the basis for action could have on a local level let alone a global one.

Some of these traits listed above have previously been seen as weaknesses in leaders, however if we all chose to be more deliberate in using these characteristics (or, letting them shine), a leader has the power to engage, motivate and gain the trust of the people they are working with. 

Having a leader who is trusted by their co-workers is integral to good business. Poor leadership has the potential to ruin organisations. Without the right investment, coaching and support, you will not have or be a great leader. Poor leadership leads to high turnover rates, workplace stress and declines in employee engagement, experience and performance. All organisations exist for a certain purpose; good management of employees and leadership are critical to ensure the purpose is fulfilled. Everyone has the innate ability to be a great leader. However, for many of us this does not come naturally. An intentional investment can turn a technical expert into a great people leader. 

If you have a new manager or leader who needs a bit of help navigating the way, check out my propel to success coaching package.

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Emma also has a podcast.