Jacinda Ardern – charismatic purpose-driven leadership

By Iain Patton, Director, Ethical Team,

Following the aftermath of the terrible atrocities in New Zealand a new political star has emerged whose influence and impact is reaching far beyond the borders of this traditionally quiet commonwealth country.

While the 2019 Edelman Trust Barometer reports that trust in global institutions and authority figures has hit an all-time low, prime minister Jacinda Ardern stands out as a shining beacon of charismatic purpose-driven leadership.

It’s no surprise there is global upheaval and discontent as, according to Oxfam, inequalities between rich and poor continue to widen. It found 8 billionaires have the same amount of wealth as the poorest half of the world.

As the number of climate emergencies declared across Europe increases, there is growing fear about our collective future. The world is experiencing a paradigm shift as children as young as eight mobilise around climate justice and striking to highlight governments failure to act in societies best interest.

More than ever, our world needs more innovative and pioneering leaders to save it from imploding. If we are to believe what some experts say, there are just 11 years to avert irreversible climate change and meet global frameworks such as the 17 UN Global Goals by 2030.

In terms of leadership, when one understands the importance of inclusion, then its possible to accomplish greater things together. When everyone is included, everyone wins because true leadership comes from building social capital, creating cohesiveness and maintaining the fragile glue which binds society together in a functioning equilibrium.

Ardern’s purpose-driven leadership started with compassion and empathy. It now unites a multi-denominational and multi-racial population by reiterating shared goals, beliefs and values that love conquers hate.

She has overcome the odds to establish common ground and understanding amongst a diverse group of people.

Leaders who follow the model of purpose-driven leadership believe deeply in a cause, which motivates their decision-making. Jacinda Ardern is a peace broker, dealmaker and visionary willing to act quickly for the common good and bring her nation along with her for the greater good. The world needs more leaders like Ardern.

We need new global leadership, and radical systems change to address the demands of the booming global population and burgeoning middle classes emerging who are putting further strain on our diminishing resources.

Radical transformation is not about economics, although that is part of it. It’s about a shift in global belief systems to begin with and a consensus that the world is in peril and needs to set itself on a new trajectory – one that supports and respects all humanity as the building block to global prosperity.

Ardern is displaying the ethical leadership the world needs to recalibrate itself to become a safer, happier and healthier planet. It is leadership that is directed by respect for the ethical beliefs and values of others and for their dignity and rights although this should be equally adopted by all concerned as religion is often the cause of so many conflicts.

Ethical leadership is thus related to concepts such as trust, honesty, consideration, charisma, and fairness.

As its Sunday when I write this, I have no doubt one of the most important commandments in the Christian faith would surely have its equivalent in all religions: “Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself”.

Probably this is a thought that should transcend all borders, races, cultures and languages to ensure we preserve our habitat and leave a legacy for future generations that is worth living for.

Because if we don’t understand each other its clear we will never reach the consensus that the world is in dire straits and we have a limited time to adapt and build a more resilient world.

Iain Patton is director at Ethical Team specialising in heart-led PR & Media Relations amplifying business for good and creating global conversations for action.

Photo via Governor General of New Zealand

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