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Being emotionally honest: The cautionary tale of Prime Minister Julia Gillard March 11, 2011

Posted by rmshepard in Uncategorized.
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Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard had been criticized in her country for being too emotionless in her response to massive flooding in Australia at the beginning of 2011. When Gillard appeared to cry during a major speech about the flooding, however, she was then attacked for faking her tears. Part of the problem for the Prime Minister was that criticism of her steely facade just a night before her tears led many to believe that she had staged her emotional moment in front of the national and international press. The incident reminded many of Hillary Clinton’s tears in a New Hampshire coffee shop while campaigning in 2008, and showed that emotional honesty – especially from women – can be a dangerous for a public image.

For more on Gillard’s episode, see the following video:

Discussion Questions:

1.  What does it mean to be emotionally honest? Do we value leaders who are emotionally honest? Why, or why not?

2.  Was Gillard’s crying episode authentic, or did she fake her tears? What do you think, and why?

3.  Is it more difficult for female leaders to be emotionally honest than it is for their male counterparts? Why, or why not?

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