The ever-changing, volatile and uncertain world that we are increasingly operating in is putting added pressure on our business leaders to be seen to be doing the right things and to behave in the right way.
Failure to do so risks losing the trust, buy-in and commitment of staff, many of whom are finding it tough to adjust to new ways of working in these challenging times.
“I really rebel against this idea that politics has to be a place full of ego and where you’re constantly focused on scoring hits against one another. Yes, we need a robust democracy, but you can be strong, and you can be kind”.
What a breath of fresh air this quote is and so in tune with today’s requirements.
Who said it? Gandhi, Churchill, Kennedy, Thatcher, Mandela?
No, Jacinda Ardern, current Prime Minister of New Zealand and a leader who is receiving plaudits from around the world for her leadership qualities in the face of many challenges.
So, what are the key elements of Ardern’s quote that any leader in any position in any organisation can adopt to be the best leader they can be?
Focus ego in the right direction
Rather than point scoring and furthering your personal agenda, harness ego to demonstrate confidence, passion and belief that will inspire and motivate people to ‘want to’ get on board and work with you.
Be open, honest and transparent and you will earn respect and be seen as credible and trustworthy.
Be strong and robust
Leadership often means tough, brave decisions have to be made. Be clear about why your decision is the right one and then commit to it.
Don’t be afraid to challenge people who are not on board and tackle objections by emphasising key points with certainty and confidence.
Be prepared to be wrong
A caveat to being strong and robust – listen to objections and challenges with an open mind and be prepared to change your mind if appropriate.
Don’t let ego get in the way of doing the right thing.
This preparedness to listen and learn will only add to your trust and credibility provided it’s done with strength and confidence.
“You can be strong, and you can be kind”.
People skills and Emotional Intelligence are essential for today’s leaders. Be aware of your impact and notice how your people are feeling.
Be open to different views and ways of working. It doesn’t mean you have to agree with everyone but have a debate in a respectful manner and if you don’t agree explain why calmly and with clarity.
Being nice should not be seen as a flaw.
Food for thought
What a refreshing and courageous attitude from someone in such a high-profile position.
The latest Newshub-Reid Research poll revealed that Ms. Ardern has a 59.5% approval rating, 20.8 points higher than previous polling and the highest for a party leader in New Zealand’s history.
Her approach may not work for all leaders in all organisations, but it must be worth serious consideration.