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How not to perform under pressure – An example from Clive Palmer

 In Learning from Luminaries, Politicians

One mark of top leaders is to have grace under pressure – to keep one’s cool when things get tough.

In recent years the best example I’ve seen of grace under pressure was Alan Joyce’s performance as he faced an Australian Federal Government, Senate Committee hearing about his decision to ground the Qantas airfleet.

Despite being grilled repeatedly and aggressively by the Committee members, in particular by Senator Doug Cameron, Joyce remained composed and collected.

An example of a leader who demonstrates the antithesis of grace under pressure is Clive Palmer. A recent example of ‘cracking under pressure’, was Palmer’s performance in a 10 July interview with Sarah Ferguson of ABC’s 7:30.

Once Ferguson’s questions zeroed in on a sensitive area for Palmer, he became aggressive, he swore, stood up and ended the interview.

Palmer is certainly a colourful personality and a counterpoint to the leaders of Australia’s two major political parties. Yet if he wants to become a top performing leader, he needs to maintain his dignity when under pressure – and not ‘cut and run’.

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