Leadership Is Not About Being The Loudest In The Room

Jacinda Ardern

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"Leadership is not about necessarily being the loudest in the room, but instead being the bridge, or the thing that is missing in the discussion and trying to build a consensus from there."

Jacinda Ardern (1980-) is a New Zealand politician who has served as the 40th prime minister of New Zealand and leader of the Labour Party since 2017. Being 37 at the time, she became the country’s youngest prime minister in more than 150 years.

Since taking up the post as prime minister, Ardern has effectively led the country through the aftermath of the Christchurch mosque shootings in March 2019, rapidly introducing strict gun laws in response, and the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, setting a decisive and swift strategy to tackle the crisis. A recent poll found that Ardern is the country’s most popular leader in 100 years, and almost 92% of respondents say they support the measures she has implemented.

Ardern is known for her empathetic leadership style that places emphasis on compassion and community. “Kindness, and not being afraid to be kind, or to focus on, or be really driven by empathy,” she has said of what is at the heart of her leadership style. “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. And yet, when you think about all the big challenges that we face in the world, that’s probably the quality we need the most."

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Nikol Chen (she/her)

Marketing & Design, Laidlaw Foundation

Hello! My name is Nikol and I look after the Laidlaw Scholars Network. I am originally from Kazakhstan and I studied Human Sciences at UCL. My final research explored the potential effects of design on patient wellbeing in hospitals, and I also took modules such as Ethnographic Documentary Filmmaking, Anthropology of the Built Environment, Art in the Public Sphere, and other less interesting-sounding things :) Drop me a line at nikol.chen@laidlawfoundation.com if you have any questions about the Network or just fancy a chat. Alternatively, you can use the teal chat bubble in the right bottom corner of your screen and I'll reply ASAP!

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