Leadership Trait Analysis (LTA) of Successful State Leaders in COVID times: Tsai Ing-wen and Jacinda Ardern

This poster summarises the leadership traits exhibited by Tsai Ing-wen, President of Taiwan, and Jacinda Ardern, President of New Zealand, and explores how these traits interacted with and explained the leaders' decisions and management in the COVID-19 crisis.

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Edith Lee

Student, University of St Andrews


Go to the profile of Fatima Formuli
4 months ago

This is really interesting work Edith. So would you say that overall its all about whether a leader is willing to take the risk or speak up for what's right that determines how the country handles pandemics? That these two leaders don't really have anything special about them that made them successful?

Go to the profile of Edith Lee
4 months ago

Hi Fatima! Thank you for the questions. For the moment, I would say it remains premature to make such an overarching claim on whether these traits determines how the country handles pandemics: after all, this is but a comparative study between two leaders who found relative success, among others, and both in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic. Tsai and Ardern's shared willingness to challenge constraints found in this study could perhaps serve the basis for hypothesis in future LTA research, relating to the management of pandemics, though! That way we can see if this is a trait that is consistent across contexts, and among more leaders.

Regarding your second question - not necessarily! This study pointed out that both leaders demonstrated 2 traits that departed from world leaders' normal, out of the 7 analysed. While these are not the most wildly exceptional personality profiles compared to some other world leaders', LTA only measures an aspect of these leaders' personalities; other factors such as their communication style with the public, the management style of their respective cabinets have not been taken into account. Jacinda Ardern, for example, is known to communicate with the public through a mix of formal COVID press conferences for information updates, and informal Facebook livestreams to address New Zealanders' more personal concerns whilst in lockdown. Her communication style is credited as something that resonated well with the New Zealand public and encouraged compliance to the oft harsh restrictions that came with lockdown - I've briefly discussed some of Tsai and Ardern's diplomatic decisions and communication styles in my research essay that also facilitated their successes, so give it a read if you are interested!