3 skills that make Jacinda Ardern an outstanding leader

SOURCE: Mark Mitchell/AFP
New Zealand's Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern briefs the media about the COVIS-19 coronavirus at the Parliament House in Wellington on April 27, 2020.

By U2B Staff 

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As Jacinda Ardern continuously makes the headlines for being one of the best world leaders – male or female – of our times, her strong set of skills can be attributed to her success as a leader.

Many leaders today claim to talk the talk but don’t exactly walk the walk when it comes to soft skills, but Ardern has proven time and time again that she is applying them in her daily life as one of the most prominent New Zealand prime ministers.

While she has successfully handled many situations and crises during her tenure, the current pandemic has thrust her prowess into the spotlight.

Becoming prime minister at only 37 years old, which made her the youngest living head of government in the world, Jacinda Ardern also proves that having years of experience is not the primary factor for being a great leader.

If you’re interested in building a career as a leader, take a page out of Ardern’s book and start developing these skills that will help you both professionally and personally.

Consider online leadership training programmes that will teach you how to effectively hone and further develop important skills that set you apart as a genuine and capable leader like Jacinda Ardern.


There is a certain leadership skill set that experts have identified as being essential to running a successful organisation or country.

These top leadership skills include communication, empathy and honesty. Jacinda Ardern has shown in various ways that she has truly mastered these skills as a leader.

For example, she maintained a clear and honest approach with the public in March when she delivered a televised eight-minute statement to the nation to announce a four-level COVID-19 alert system in New Zealand, which helped rally support and unity during a difficult time.

According to Harvard Business Review, “How a message is delivered matters. Ardern’s communication was clear, honest, and compassionate: It acknowledged the daily sacrifices to come and inspired people to forge ahead in bearing them together.

“Ardern closed her March 21 address by thanking New Zealanders for all they were about to do. And her powerful parting words were soon picked up around the globe as people looked for direction in the fog: “Please be strong, be kind, and unite against Covid-19.”

Being an honest and authentic leader builds trust and loyalty from your employees, so don’t overlook this important quality.



Jacinda Ardern’s agility skills as a leader were brought to light during the 2019 Christchurch mosque shootings.

According to Diadem, “Just six days after the shootings, Ardern displayed agility and resolve by exacting immediate and sweeping changes to the gun laws in New Zealand and banning all assault and military-style weapons. The ability to respond quickly and effectively to changing circumstances is crucial to establishing credibility and inspiring trust in your people.”

This ability to be agile in difficult situations is what makes a leader stand out from the rest. Most recently, Ardern proved her agility once again when New Zealand reported four new cases after being free from the virus for 101 days.

Ardern swiftly placed Auckland on a second lockdown and made face masks mandatory on all public transport across the country to reduce the risk of the virus spreading.

Compared to other world leaders, she placed public health above economic and political gain, even delaying the country’s general election by a month to deal with the crisis.


Demonstrating empathy as a leader is an effective way to connect with your followers or employees as it shows you truly care for their well-being while inspiring them to think of others.

According to Diadem, “Ardern displayed her deep levels of empathy by wearing a hijab when she offered her heartfelt condolences to the people affected by the tragedy. She later addressed parliament with the Arabic greeting, “As-Salaam Alaikum” and spoke of her desire for peace and unity when she said, “New Zealand mourns with you. We are one.”This ability to put yourself in other people’s shoes and see things from their perspective is key to uniting people in a common goal. ”

When a volcano eruption devastated White Island last December, killing 27, Ardern was also seen hugging first responders and giving a compassionate speech that also addressed the country on the situation, resources, and plans.

She has also displayed concern for the environment, made headlines for passing landmark legislation with regards to climate change in a bid to make New Zealand mostly carbon-neutral.