Posted on

Leadership Lessons Learned from Game of Thrones

I’m a huge fan of the Game of Thrones and my although I have a few favorite characters, by far, my favorite is Khaleesi aka Daenerys Stormborn. Her transformation in the series has been nothing short of amazing. She was the weak and meek sister of a bully with no integrity, who thought he’d be king and who sold her to a husband not caring what would become of her. Her evolution into a true leader is something to behold, and something to learn from!

Khaleesi led her people through the desert, where many died of thirst and extreme heat. She was also in mourning for her husband and son, but harnessed that sorrow to lead her people through what would have been certain death.

Career lesson: when there is uncertainty in the workplace, focus on what you can control. Focus on your job responsibilities and surpass them by over achieving. These things are noticed by management and could earn you a promotion and a seat at the decision table.

Khaleesi bought an army of slaves and then freed them. She gave them the choice to stay or leave, with no retribution if they left. The vast majority stayed, but they stayed with passion and with loyalty and with skin in the game. In short, they now cared.

Career lesson: Treat your team with respect and give them credit when credit is due. Give them encouragement when they don’t perform well. Amazing things happen with some good coaching and guidance. A motivated team is a successful team!

Khaleesi has two advisors who she values, but when they questioned her in front of an adversary, she said nothing to them in public. Instead, she waited until they were in private and told them to never question her again, or they would be her advisors no more.

Career lesson: Always praise in public but have private discussions when things don’t go well. People will always remember how you make them feel, and being discouraged in front of other team members will not earn you any loyalty in return.

Khaleesi believes in herself. She has the magical power of not being burned with fire. She is the “mother of dragons” afterall.

Career lesson: Have confidence in your abilities. Or at least, act as if you have confidence. This does not mean you have to boast or brag … but always take note of the quality of what you do and use that sense of quality to always raise the status quo! I’ll add a special note here that in general, I notice men being more confident than women. Women need to work on this to have that seat at the table, to get that promotion and to live up to their promise.

Game of Thrones is just a show, but there are great characters and an amazing story line which means there are always lessons to be learned.