Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Pearl Cornioley

How good are we at judging leadership qualities in advance?

When Pearl Witherinton (she later married her wartime fiance and associate Henri Cornioley) was being trained for her wartime role in the Special Operations Executive, her trainers had mixed feelings about her.
  • "not having the personality to act as a leader ... subordinate"
  • "probably the best shot - male or female - we have yet had ... this student, though a woman, has definitely got leaders' qualities ... cool and resourceful and extremely determined".
She was so successful running operations in France that the Nazis offered a reward of one million francs for her capture.

This raises an important question. How many people (lots of women obviously, but many men too) have been denied opportunities because of poor assessment of their leadership potential?