GoT Season 8

What can Game of Thrones teach us about leadership?

***SPOILER ALERT****

If you are anything like me, you have been eagerly watching Game of Thrones for nine years. So much has changed for me personally in nearly a decade and same goes for the characters who have evolved over time. If you haven’t been watching Game of Thrones well this blog may not make a whole lot of sense to you, also it may spoil it if you ever want to watch it, so stop reading now.

So, in any great battle, leaders must rise, and Game of Thrones is the ultimate battle for the iron throne. No one can fight a battle alone, you need followers.

Enter our protagonists:

Jon Snow

You know nothing Jon Snow. A bastard (Or so we thought!). So apart from the actor Kit Harington, being very easy on the eye, he is the ultimate humble leader. The guy leads from the front and doesn’t ask of his men anything he is not prepared to do. He never wants to be a leader or King of the North but his people keep choosing him as their leader. And that is why. Its not the power that Jon Snow seeks, it’s the cause that he is focussed on (to save the seven realms from the Army of the Dead) and everyone loves a leader with a vision and a purpose. He stays true to his word throughout the entire series, and he does not enjoy being a solider but he sure makes a good one, I would totally follow Jon Snow off a cliff (amirite?)!

Cersei Lannister

The Evil Master Manipulator, the megalomaniac who rules through fear and is just so abhorrent on so many levels! (Starting with the fact that she in love with her twin brother who seems to be the father of most of her children What The Actual??)  The type of leader who flaunts her power walking through the city naked – making strategic alliances in order to control the game – her people do what she says because she will kill them if she doesn’t. It works until someone better comes along. Cersei teaches us what not to do in leadership; she doesn’t trust anyone, doesn’t empower her followers and leads through fear and sheer violence. Dictator much?

Daenerys Stormborn

First born of the house of Targaryen, Breaker of chains, Mother of dragons. This chick is kick arse! For the majority of the seasons she demonstrates impeccable leadership. Steely focussed on the prize and able to win the hearts and minds of her followers by freeing them from captivity. She unites an unlikely army spanning all the kingdoms and they follow her of their own free will and would willingly give their lives for her. Servant leadership with a vision and the drive to make it happen. Granted, Daenerys has a lot of strength and three fiery dragons to help get her point across, but what I love about Daenerys is the way her character develops throughout the story. ***SPOILER ALERT*** Sadly I think ultimately power corrupts Daenerys and she loses focus of her why and what’s important to her. This in turn means that her loyal servants begin to lose faith and everything starts to unravel. In a sense she isolates herself which contributes to her state of mind. I see this happen in many organisations. As soon as people are appointed into leadership positions, sometimes they can let the power go to their head, and to hold on to the control they start to mistrust those around them, sending them a little bit Daenerys loopy.

The Night King

The Night King was the slow and steady leader. He committed to a vision and a purpose and worked tirelessly to lead his team of the dead and night walkers towards that vision. The Night King could have done with a little more strategy but you got to give him leadership points for nearly taking over the world with his deadness due to his absolute resolve to stick to a plan.

Sansa Stark

Sansa Stark, Little Bird, rises up from adversity. She is shoved around and married off multiple times, each experience making her tougher, wiser and stronger. She has some great mentors and advisors and she learns to lead the people of the North strategically and skilfully with the help of mainly Little Finger. She takes some risks, makes some bold moves and when threatened she uses her wit and ability to see the bigger picture to get what she wants. The best example of this is her telling Tyrion who Jon Snow really is. She knows what course of events this will set in motion and what this means for not only her family but for Daenerys. Well played!

Tyrion Lannister

Tyrion Lannister has to be considered in my leadership summary of Game of Thrones. Tyrion understands what his strengths are and is one of the most strategic players in Game of Thrones. He is able to build successful alliances with the most unlikely of allies to ensure his survival. He can always read a situation and is planning and scheming constantly, he is normally one step ahead of the game and not afraid to take risks to do what is right. He is an unlikely leader as in the beginning his character seems morally bankrupt but as he evolves throughout the series you cannot help but love him as he often uses his wit to win his battles and lives his life unapologetically.

Ned Stark

Ned Stark died way too early but was the pinnacle of a great leader. #Sob.

In season one, Ned initially declines Robert Baratheon’s request for Ned to be his Hand to the King. Despite Ned being a loyal friend, he’s never really desired to be in a place of high power. His staunch commitment to justice (in this case, investigating the Lannisters and Jon Arryn’s death) and doing what’s best for the greater good eventually leads him to his death.

So, although, we don’t live in the seven realms and don’t have to worry about the army of the dead we can definitely learn lessons about leadership in the epic battle for the iron throne and apply it to leadership in the workplace.

I cannot wait to see who the ultimate winner of Game of Thrones will be next week! I cannot help but wonder will good triumph over evil? I think we all felt that Daenerys was our favourite but after her recent actions, she seems to be just as bad as the tyrant’s she so wanted to defeat!

Written by HR Gurus Managing Partner, Jessy Warn.

 

 

 

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