We British are in despair as we daily observe many of our politicians playing political football with our children’s and grandchildren’s future. Narcissistic posturing and bluster appear to be the order of the day, the paucity of genuine leadership is painful to observe in a nation that was once esteemed around the world for it’s strength of clarity and purpose. And then there is Jacinda Ardern.
The New Zealand premier has been a model of the modern leader, empathy mixed with strength, courage with clarity of thought and a soft yet steely focus on the needs of ‘others’. As a sign of honour and respect she dons the headscarf and, despite making herself an obvious target for hate-filled trolls and monstrous extremists, states ‘I don’t care because I am standing with ‘others’’. This is what sets genuine leaders apart, an ability to walk in ‘others’ shoes and stand with them.
My mother took great pride in retelling the story of the day that the royal princesses walked through the rubble of her blitzed East End community during World War II. She welled up every time. It is too easy as armchair commentators to be cynical about leadership but we do so at our peril. It is a most precious thing that should be esteemed and honoured by all. Those of us who aspire to lead can learn much from the Jacindas of the world as they remind us that whatever the context of our leadership, it is not about us but always about serving the ‘other’.