Would you dare be more Jacinda?

“I am leaving because with such a privileged job comes a big responsibility. The responsibility to know when you are the right person to lead – and also when you’re not.”

A shocking resignation was announced just a few hours ago. THe much admired youngest PM of NZ noted she did not have enough in her tank to keep going. While many posts will be written about this powerful leader and her resignation, how burnout is real, and family matters. However, there is yet another set of lessons to be noted in addition to these. Lessons from the way her quote above shows who she is as a leader, even as she explains her choice:

1. Self awareness:

Jacinda Ardern’s self-awareness and ability to reflect on her own leadership sets her apart from many other leaders, who often lack the ability to understand their own limitations and value proposition. Ardern understands the limits of her own influence and the personal factors that impact it. Most leaders lack this skill and can end up becoming defensive when their weaknesses are pointed out. This trait of self awarness allows her to stay ahead of the curve in her leadership journey and personal one as well. Ask yourself: Do I know my value proposition and the limits of it?

2. Context of leadership:

Leaders of war times don’t make the best leaders of peacetime and vice versa. A leader is never great in a vacuum. Context sensitivities play a role in the effectiveness of a leader. Jacinda has always been good at reading context. A good example being how she channeled empathy for victims of the 2019 mosque attacks in NZ. She maybe reading the writing on the wall and responding in a manner that was authentic and responsive to the context she is in and the context she sees emerging. Ask yourself: What type of organization, culture and role demands that make you operate at a level that is your best self.

3. Humility is an important trait for leaders

As it allows them to admit their mistakes, listen to others, and make decisions that prioritize the well-being of their team and organization over their own personal gain or I dare say own personal ambition or ego. Ardern’s statement highlights her understanding that the role of a leader is not only to serve their own interests but to serve the greater good. This selflessness and dedication to the people is a key trait of a good leader. Ask yourself: When was the last time I put my humanity and humility above my need for being seen as a perfect leader?


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