Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and director-general of health Dr Ashley Bloomfield have led New Zealand through one of its toughest challenges to date, the Covid-19 pandemic. Together they have led the country, each with their unique style, but what is it that makes a good leader? We speak leaders and experts to find out more.
An expert opinion
"Leadership is a journey, not a destination," says University of Waikato Leadership Unit co-director Dr Maree Roche.
In her opinion, the keys to effective leadership are to never settle, never assume you know it all and always seek growth and development.
At their core, leaders also need to be good people with good values, Roache said.
"The attributes of a good leader are the same attributes that make you a decent human. It's behavioural integrity, it's honesty, it's openness to relationships, growth and development. There are a lot of research articles about what makes a good leader but I think it always comes back to being a good person."
She said it was important to maintain your values as a person, regardless of how high you climbed on the leadership hierarchy.
"As we move up the hierarchy and perhaps get a bit more distant from the people that we're supposed to be leading, there's sometimes a bit of a mindset change that goes with that. We tend to judge more harshly or value our own opinions more - the key to good leadership is that they are reflective and know themselves as well as being honest and authentic.
"I don't think leadership is a destination. As we get good at certain aspects, it's an opportunity, or a must, for leaders to keep engaging in that process of learning who they are and how they will develop as leaders."
When asked whether people were born leaders or it was something people could learn, Roache said, "If we could solve that one, we'd be very wealthy people.
"I think, by and large, research has moved away from there being certain fixed traits which make you a good leader. Fixed traits tend to be things like your height or your eye colour, things that are very hard to change.
"I think everything in the leadership space can be learned but the key to understanding that is sometimes we have a disposition to learning something more quickly and more easily than other things.
"You can't teach leadership, it has to be learned by the person. I can give you the theory and the science but leadership is an art - it's up to you as a leader to build your art, through practice, learning, trialling and reflecting."
While leaders are often thought of as those who are at the forefront, the loudest in the room, she said there were many styles of leadership, each as crucial as the next.
"There's real moves afoot to looking beyond the person who's front and centre to looking at the person who perhaps is behind the scenes a little bit more and enabling other people, a service type of leader.
You can't teach leadership, it has to be learned by the person. I can give you the theory and the science but leadership is an art - it's up to you as a leader to build your art, through practice, learning, trialling and reflecting.
"They provide the resources for others to succeed, a really humble type of person, who is just as important to the team. There are real moves towards looking for and finding those types of leaders because they are the true enablers.
"Leadership is also a time and space. Good leadership emerges at times when we need different sorts of leaders. It's about being prepared to step up when the situation requires it."
Roache said that without wanting to take any political angle, Ardern and Bloomfield provided an intriguing case study into different leadership styles.
"Dr Bloomfield really did embody that whole-service leadership type. He stood next to the Prime Minister day in and day out, oversaw many crisis-like activities, he was constantly there and consistently enabling potentially good policy and good process behind the decisions that were made. I think he is an exemplary example of leadership.
"Many of my colleagues internationally are interested in profiling Jacinda Ardern and her leadership. I think we have there someone who brought people around her, communicated through crisis consistently and had that authenticity or behavioural integrity, day in, day out.
"Ardern has led us through three different crises; the Whakaari/White Island eruption, the Christchurch terror attacks and now this pandemic. All the way through she consistently comes through as a person with behavioural integrity, a person who listens to others and is a good communicator.
"I think those are two people who are on the world stage in terms of leadership."
Robert Mangan - 'Walk the walk'
There is no doubt Tauranga Boys' College has produced some great leaders. Black Caps captain Kane Williamson, All Blacks captain Sam Cane and America's Cup champion helmsman Peter Burling are all alumni of the school.
Principal Robert Mangan plays a crucial role in helping students at the school develop and said there were a number of attributes required to be a successful leader.
"Humanity, authenticity, you need to walk the walk and you need to have people at the forefront of your decision-making.
"Leadership of the school is complex because you're leading staff, we have 130 teachers, so you're leading them as well as 2000 students. The leadership of those two groups requires similar characteristics, integrity and honesty."
He said it was important to recognise that different people reacted better to different styles of leadership and communication.
"The goodwill of staff is very, very significant, it's probably the most important thing. It means they are happy in their work, they're more productive in their work and they're more willing to go the extra mile in terms of all the co-curricular things as well.
"There's a challenge around generating and maintaining goodwill while also expecting accountability and retaining professionalism. I think it's about getting the right balance and having high expectations. That comes back to them respecting the leader, respecting the integrity of the leader and that the leader cares about them and their wellbeing."
Leadership of the school is complex because you're leading staff, we have 130 teachers, so you're leading them as well as 2000 students. The leadership of those two groups requires similar characteristics, integrity and honesty.
Mangan said he had always "quietly sought' leadership roles.
"I was head prefect at a very small school [Opunake High School], although we had four boys in Year 13 so it was a 25 per cent chance. I never saw myself as a principal but as you move into more challenging situations you grow confident in your capability.
"I probably do enjoy being influential. I don't necessarily enjoy being the boss and there are aspects of it I hate but I do like being influential and here I get to do that daily for 2000 young men."
He had no doubt that the likes of Williamson, Cane and Burling would have made it to where they are today regardless of their environment, such was their nature, but it was a privilege for the school to be a part of those journeys.
"I think there is a really sound values basis and that's reinforced to the students during their time at the college. There's role-modelling of success and recognitions of success. There's a whole lot of opportunities and I think the boys thrive in those chosen opportunities.
"We'll celebrate our successes but also try to be humble. The things that please me most about our young men is that they remain proud of their achievements and yet humble and appreciative of those who have helped them along the way.
"Obviously the mantra 'it takes a village to raise a child' is very true and we are but part of that journey. You certainly feel proud and privileged to be part of that journey. They have supportive families, the right opportunities and good people around them and they've gone on to lead."
Mangan said, personally, he had a number of leaders he looked up to, one of whom he shared a close relationship with.
"In education, one of the people who was significant to me was a gentleman called Max Heimann. He was my first head of physical education way back when I started here at Tauranga Boys' College. He continued to be motivated and engaged right through to his final day here which was about 44 years after he started.
"He was an inspiration in terms of all the energy and all that he gave to Tauranga Boys' College. He got to be associate principal, he coached 1st XV and 1st XI, he just gave so much of himself. He also grew significant skills and I found he continued to stay motivated and changed his skillset as he went."
Another leader he looked up to was former All Blacks captain Richie McCaw.
"I rank him as our greatest All Black in terms of his performances, his never-say-die attitude and I think he was outstanding throughout a significant career. There's an intelligence to his leadership, an ability to come through adversity and be resilient."
Logan Green - 'Character comes first'
Tauranga Boys' College head boy Logan Green said effective leadership comprised "a whole boiling pot" of attributes.
"I think it's about using the skills you have and the relationships you have with other people towards a common goal. It's a delicate balance of collaboration and communication.
"Those are definitely things I try to focus on in my role. Without those relationships formed with whoever you're working with it's going to be hard to get anything done so that's the first thing to focus on. There's an element of trust and of mutual respect as well for that to work."
Green said he strongly believed leadership was a skill that could be learned.
"It's definitely an art which can be developed and worked on but I would also argue that some people do have the skills and can pick things up a little bit faster."
Holding a leadership position at school on top of doing well academically and in sports, Green has a delicate balancing act on his hands.
"It's definitely prioritising, that's the main thing. It's about what's happening this week, what's the most important thing I'm facing and also what do I want to look back on and say that I'm proud I focused on that.
"It's about planning and saying 'what do I need to work on now and need to do to achieve whatever goals I have for the next few months of the year?'"
In terms of leaders, Green has several he models his leadership style on.
"At school, we've certainly looked up to the head boys who have been in the role since I've been here, so from 2016-2019. In particular, Elijah Taula was head prefect when I was Year 9 and I really valued the way he was a really good communicator, really good interpersonal skills, so I formed a reasonably close relationship with him which was a really cool thing to have.
"There's the likes of Kane Williamson as well, recognised worldwide as a humble, down-to-earth good guy and I think that's fundamentally what makes a good leader, it's character before anything else.
"One of our philosophies at school is turning boys into good men and that's holistically all round. It's using sports, arts, academics as avenues to create men by the end of it who can contribute to society, have good character, good communication skills. It's about holistic education as opposed to just academic or sport.
"Character comes first and if you build a person with good character, often you'll build a person with good leadership skills. The character is what gets really gets pushed at this school and it's why we've produced such great leaders in the community, in my opinion."
Garry Webber - 'Focus on the goal'
Western Bay mayor Garry Webber has achieved success in electoral campaigns through a focus on leadership.
He has served as a councillor since 2010 and mayor since 2016. When he stood in 2016 his pitch was that proven, professional leadership was needed to address council rates and performance.
In 2019, he asked his community to "Re-elect Proven Leadership with Integrity". The theme was chosen to reflect the way he has approached his mayoral duties.
"Leadership is about knowing the goal being aimed for, ensuring that goal is clearly articulated throughout the organisation and only focusing on the initiatives that take the organisation toward the goal," Webber said.
"There are some inherent qualities that a leader must have but there are also techniques that can be learned along the way."
He said when the pressure was on, his strategy was to continually remind himself and his team of the goal they were working towards, which helped prioritise aspects when making decisions.
"Don't get tangled up in the white noise. Distractions are part of being in leadership. Fortunately, I have worked for some great leaders, Sir James Graham, John Roadley and John Young, but I have also read a lot on Mahatma Gandhi and in recent times Barack Obama."
When asked what other books he would recommend potential leaders read, Webber said: "The Goal by Elijah Goldratt, Emotional Intelligence by Daniel Goldman and The Five Pillars of TQM: How to Make Total Quality Management Work for You by Bill Creech."
He said his proudest achievement as mayor was "getting our councillors, when they are making decisions, to focus on the long-term viability of our council and not on the next upcoming elections".
Mark Cairns - 'Be self aware'
Port of Tauranga chief executive Mark Cairns received the prestigious Caldwell Partners Leadership Award in 2019.
He started his working career as an engineer but quickly found himself leading teams, a role he enjoyed.
"I started my career designing and building things but very early on I was lucky to have opportunities to manage teams of people and I worked out pretty quickly that I really enjoyed the management and the accomplishment of things through people.
"From an early stage I enjoyed working with people and that's where I wanted to progress."
He said he used an "old cliche" to guide his approach as a leader.
"You have two eyes, two ears and only one mouth and you should use them in that proportion. That's something CEOs probably need reminding of from time to time. I've subscribed to the difference between emotional intelligence and IQ and I think the emotional intelligence is being self-aware and listening.
"It's important to be self-aware and listen to your people, listen to your customers and listen to your stakeholders - that's a really important management and leadership trait. To me, being a CEO is really easy if you get it right and have the best people working around you in the organisation.
"That what I'm proud we have achieved at the port here. We probably have the best cranes and straddles in the world but we're the best port in New Zealand because of our people, not because of the equipment."
I try to operate in a number of different leadership styles, depending on what the situation is in front of me. When you are in a crisis, you do move toward a more authoritarian sort of leadership style.
In his role, Cairns has had to lead through times of great pressure, most significantly the Rena oil spill off the coast of Tauranga in 2011.
"I try to operate in a number of different leadership styles, depending on what the situation is in front of me. When you are in a crisis, you do move toward a more authoritarian sort of leadership style.
"Normally, my preferred style is participative, bringing people along, having a vision and getting people to buy into it. When we do have a crisis like we did with the Rena, you go through a very regimented, organisational style which is appropriate for a crisis."
In terms of leaders he looked up to, Cairns said one who came to mind was on the board when he first applied to be chief executive of the Port of Tauranga.
"That was Lloyd Morison, he died a few years back, but Lloyd was just an outstanding leader and visionary business person. He taught me to always challenge the status quo, to look for different ways of doing things better.
"Also in my engineering and contracting career, there was a chap David Faulkner, the managing director of Fulton Hogan when I was working for them. David's style with people is something I've picked up along the way.
"When you're managing big teams it's about getting your people to trust you and demonstrating integrity. When I'm getting ratty with the administrative side of the job I like getting out on the wharf and working with the guys out there. Working with your people and being visible is very important in large organisations."
He said CEOs and boards should be wary of over-complicating things.
"In a highly regulated environment, it's easy to get tied up with risk and compliance when the primary role is value creation. Step back and simplify things, ensure your staff have all the tools they need to do the job.
"I've always found that people will surprise you. They often will do tasks you might not expect them to do. I've always found I'm not often disappointed when I give staff challenges or the autonomy to do things."
University of Waikato Leadership Unit co-director Dr Maree Roche's top tips for effective leadership:
1. Remember leadership is a journey, not a destination:
"You are a work in progress as a leader, you need to understand yourself, both your good and bad, and keep learning from that."
2. Who you surround yourself with matters:
"They need to be honest with you. As we get higher up in leadership we tend to meet less with diverse ideas as we get busy. In your networks and support areas it's important to surround yourself with people who both support and challenge you."
3. Surround yourself with diversity:
"Good ideas, honest feedback and seeing things differently comes from the diversity value of your network. This means people with diverse ideas and opinions as well as in terms of gender, ethnicity and those sorts of things."
4. Leadership is an art:
"It's easier theoretically, it's harder in actuality to shape yourself and your leadership style."
5. Keep the oil in the lamp burning brightly:
"That relies on you as a leader being able to step back and take care of yourself. Take time for mindfulness, exercise, time with loved ones - whatever it takes to have your own life in order so you can lead effectively."
6. Be a good person:
"A decent person is a great leader. That's what comes through in a lot of the leaders we see today, they are decent people and they do things for the right reasons."