Jacinta Ardern


Jacinta Ardern is the youngest and third female to become the Prime minister of New Zealand. She is a firm believer that too much focus on power and strength can make  leaders lose sight of the need for kindness.

While speaking with Guardian, she explained that her decision to go into politics came with the desire of wanting to change the world.

“In fact, if anything, I thought it looked like a very hard life. It was because I was one of those young people that thought I’d like to change the world, even if it was in the smallest of ways, it just felt like I was doing something that would make a difference.

She defied the odds “I’m a New Zealander and we are naturally quite a self-deprecating people, and part, if I’m honest, it’s probably because I’m also a woman who looks more quickly at my deficits; the things that I’m not good at, rather than what I am. But either way, I never would have imagined as a child that I would end up doing a role like this, because I grew up in a very small town, and there are 120 MPs (members of parliament) in New Zealand. How could I possibly imagine being one of them?.” 

Speaking on what gave her the confidence to suddenly step forward, despite her seemingly low experience and young age, she added,

“You know it’s one thing to not be able to necessarily imagine yourself in that position, but when you’re there you’re just actually thinking, “Right, there’s no time for me to second-guess myself now, people don’t need to hear me question anything right now, they just need to know, and hear me say, ‘I can’.” And so, in that moment, I absolutely knew I could and so it was just a matter of going out there and showing that.”

Front cover of the book I know this to be true, by Jacinda Ardern
Front cover of the book I know this to be true, by Jacinda Ardern.

The qualities that have underpinned her path to this leadership role, include kindness,

“And not being afraid to be kind, or to focus on, or be really driven by empathy. I think one of the sad things that I’ve seen in political leadership is – because we’ve placed over time so much emphasis on notions of assertiveness and strength – that we probably have assumed that it means you can’t have those other qualities of kindness and empathy.

“We need our leaders to be able to empathise with the circumstances of others; to empathise with the next generation that we’re making decisions on behalf of. And if we focus only on being seen to be the strongest, most powerful person in the room, then I think we lose what we’re meant to be here for. So I’m proudly focused on empathy, because you can be both empathetic and strong,” she said.

Jacinta Ardern is a leader with genuine positive efforts that are plainly visible, she is someone we can all learn from.

Click here for full article