4 lessons in crisis management from Jacinda Ardern, Prime Minister of New Zealand

Can the most effective leaders deploy tools other than those promoted by Silicon Valley? In this game, Jacinda Ardern's methods are interesting to decipher.

In the international political landscape, it would be a mistake to think that there is only room for the extreme tension felt by Putin and Bolsonaro. The coronavirus crisis has confirmed that some of the most effective leaders are the opposite of the highest styles.

In this record, New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has been particularly striking.

She has already been praised internationally for her management Attacks on Christchurch mosques in March 2019. To get her country out of the Covid epidemic, the forty-year-old woman once again did an effective job.

Containment measures were taken very early and very carefully. They were supported by implementing a large-scale testing campaign. During the first wave, in four weeks, New Zealand had almost eliminated the coronavirus from its territory, and only had to lament about fifteen deaths.

So, what lessons can we learn from Jacinda Ardern's leadership? We do inventory.

Leadership at the human level

What if being good enough meant above all else putting yourself on the same level as your troops? It is the choice of Jacinda Ardern who never puts herself above others, and always stands shoulder to shoulder with her fellow citizens. And she proves it.

To show solidarity with those experiencing financial difficulties, she and her ministers announced that they would reduce their salaries by 20%. When Jacinda Ardern appears on TV, she doesn't hesitate to show herself in the same state of emergency as everyone else. As the country went into lockdown, she spoke to people from her living room sofa. She had just put her two-year-old daughter to bed, and was apologizing for wearing what appeared to be a tracksuit. “Excuse my casual attire, putting young children to bed can get complicated.” We are a long way from the gold of the republic and the national anthem. Here, Jacinda Ardern is unaware of the supposed attributes of power, as she lives what the nation is going through.

No nonsense, focus on confidence

Jacinda Ardern speaks clearly and frankly. It doesn't trumpet, it doesn't overpromise, it doesn't justify itself. Explains, relies on facts, and reassures while being rigorous in achieving goals. In other words, they don't get stuck in prattle. Neither she nor her teams are left to have the say. “This is a large, complex project that is being undertaken at a rapid pace, so we know it will take time to get it right,” the New Zealand Ministry of Education says on its website. We are a far cry from the repeated insistence on the part of leaders that they have done nothing wrong and defend their strategy – or lack of strategy. It is a trick, as well as being childish and more dangerous at a time when trust is vital.

The importance of coordination and teamwork

While leaders like Trump pitted his states against each other, or Bolsonaro found himself alone against everyone, Jacinda Ardern showed a united front with her government. All state authorities are focused on managing the crisis peacefully. This allows decisions to be modified and their rhythms changed. If drastic containment measures were taken too early, deconfinement measures may have been announced cautiously. The plan is scalable, taking into account the restrictions imposed on different ministries. It has already been announced that it may take a move back, but a common goal sets the tone: “If we act too soon, we will go back.”

A comprehensive vision that remains close to the individual

If Jacinda Ardern focuses on the overall plan, she also remains very attentive to specific stories. When British Prime Minister Boris Johnson left intensive care in April 2020, he wanted to thank his caregivers during a television speech. He confirmed that thanks to them he was able to cure the virus, and gave each of their first names on air. One of his nurses was from New Zealand. Jenny McGee thought it was a joke. “His hospitalization generated a lot of media attention and, frankly, he was the most difficult patient ever,” she says. But to us, he was as sick as anyone else. We just tried to do our best…it was business as usual. »

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Jacinda Ardern found Jenny McGee on Facebook to write her a little note. ” It's absolutely surreal to receive a letter from Jacinda. She's one of my heroines. I think she's amazing, and she just told me how proud she is of me and that the country is proud of her too. It was very heartwarming and something I will never forget. »

Jenny added: “I'm very proud to be a New Zealander, we're a great group of people who always get along in the face of adversity. We have a positive attitude, which comes naturally from our way of seeing the world, and from our education.”

Does this mean that leaders are similar to those they govern? Or they are an exampleDoes this affect the behavior of all citizens?

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