Joan of Arc - Success and Leadership
Joan of Arc (1412-1431)
A patron saint of France (pictured right) , famous for several victories against the English including the
relief of the siege at Orléans in 1429 (so her nickname, the Maid of Orléans) .
But eventually burned at the stake at the age of only 19.
Why is she a great leader and successful?
1. Religious inspiration
She believed she had visions from God, telling her to drive out the English from France.
People believed in her because of her:
- visions from God (particularly important as people were then very religious).
Aged 16 and a poor, illiterate peasant, Joan asked the local military commander to see the French king,
Charles VII (pictured right)!
After being refused, people listened to her when she gained the support of two important politicians.
She had nothing but her conviction that she could save France.
She had no money and depended on donations for her armour, horse, sword and banner.
King Charles VII made her the leader of his army, because he was desperate after years of
humiliating defeats by the English.
She seized this great opportunity.
5. Brilliant strategist
In battle she always preferred attack, learning from the knowledge and opinions of her
She had the:
- moral courage to fight for her beliefs.
- bravery to lead from the front in battle.
At the siege of Orléans (pictured right in Jules Eugène Lenepveu's 1889 painting), she pulled an arrow from her
shoulder (from a depth of 6 inches) and returned wounded to lead the final charge, saying:
“I would prefer to die rather than to do which I know to be a sin, or to be against the will of
Despite her lack of education, she had a brilliant mind.
At her trial for heresy, she was asked, if she knew she was in God’s grace, i.e. she had God’s support.
If she had answered, yes, she would have been guilty of heresy, because the church believed no one could be
certain of God’s support.
If she had answered no, she would have admitted her guilt.
So she gave the brilliant reply:
“If I am not, may God put me there. And if I am, may God, so keep me”.
Key quotes on God and
I would prefer to die rather than to do which I know to be a sin, or to be against the will of God
If I am not, may God put me there. And if I am, may God, so keep me
Key quote on
I am not afraid. I was born to do this.