Positive leadership in the face of adversity
In the last blog post, we remembered the loved ones who lost their lives in the mass shooting at two mosques in Christchurch last week.
This week we would like to honour the Prime Minister of New Zealand, Jacinda Ardern.
Her initial reaction and continued response to this atrocity has been praised all over the world.
She has shown compassion, integrity and empathy during some of the darkest times of her country’s history.
At no point has she resorted to blame, negativity or hate. In her address to Parliament, she refused to speak the gunman’s name.
“He sought many things from his act of terror, one was notoriety. And that is why you will never hear me mention his name.”
Reform not Retribution
In all her actions, there has been no “Us vs Them” undertone. In fact, she has led the message of togetherness.
Instead of retaliation, Ardern has vowed to change the gun laws. Anger was put aside to ensure that the victims and their families were put first. Funds have been pledged for the funeral costs for all the victims as well as financial support for their families to be able to move forward.
She wore a hijab as a mark of respect for the Muslim community. She stood beside them in their grief and not in front of a media conference.
In the national condolence book, she was the first to sign, writing;
“On behalf of all New Zealanders, we grieve together. We are one. They are us”.
It’s in the darkest times that true leadership will shine
Brené Brown, author of “Dare to lead”, says that “the true underlying obstacle to brave leadership is how we respond to our fear”. Past experiences of such attacks have wielded responses filled with aggression and retribution. Their response to the fear fuelled hate and anger towards the perpetrators. This has led to more fear and more hate.
Ardern’s response of empathy and togetherness, with actions of change and healing to move forward as a Nation has set a new precedence for leadership for our future. She is challenging stereotypes that a woman is too emotional in times of national emergencies. She is demonstrating that it is possible to show love and empathy towards others as well as showing strength and courage.
“Daring leaders must care for and be connected to the people they lead” (Brené Brown)
And none has proven this sentiment more than Ardern.
Image courtesy of nowtolove.co.nz