September 19th, 2017
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The popular HBO television series Game of Thrones keeps the audience on its toes with the right mix of power dynamics and political schemes. Each of the characters take a different approach to leadership, all resulting in various levels of success.

Though today’s workforce isn’t set in the mythical land of Westeros during medieval times, there are still lessons to be taken away from the successes and failures of these characters.

I read that there are three types of leaders: those who lead by friendship, those who lead by fear and those who lead by respect. The best leaders can do all three.

Here are a few different leadership styles seen in the iconic show and some ways to create a better working environment with happier, more engaged employees.

Which of these Game of Thrones leaders best describes your leadership style (or the one you wish you are):

1. Cersei Lannister- the surreptitious, self-serving leader.


The manipulative Cersei Lannister isn’t someone who’d land a leadership position by popular vote. She knows how to get things done, but her approach is a little shady, secretly working with others behind the scenes. This approach isn’t far from the type some leaders take today.

Unlike Cersei, leaders need to build a culture of trust through open communication without keeping secrets from employees. Employees can tell when managers aren’t being honest.

2. Daenerys Targeryen-The naive leader with the best intentions.


Daenerys Targaryen wants to make all the right decisions for her people, but her youthfulness and naivety leaves her susceptible to being misled by others. Even so, she makes up for what she lacks in wisdom by putting her people first, as a good leader does.

As a leader, it’s important to be committed to the growth, development and well-being of employees. Even leaders who aren’t the most seasoned gain advantage by putting employees first.

3. Stannis Baratheon- The leader who’s not so great with people.


Stannis Baratheon is a determined leader, but he’s not exactly a people-person. He can come off a little rough and cold-hearted. His high expectations make him a little critical, but only because he values success, like most leaders.

Of course, leaders always want their employees to do their best, but the wrong response or the wrong feedback can disengage employees quickly. Positive feedback is the key to reinforcing behaviors and performances leaders want to see repeated.

Constantly correcting employees is good but giving positive feedback to support and encourage continued good practices is better. If a correction needs to be made, address it along with what employees are doing well so they can replace negative actions with more positive ones.

4. Jon Snow- The young leader who inspires engagement.


Though inexperienced, Jon Snow knows how to inspire action. He leads by example, which inspires others to join him in his ventures, no matter how daunting they may be. His bold moves capture his followers’ attention. There’s no doubt they’re alert and engaged in what’s coming next.

Like Jon Snow, a good leader doesn’t just order people around, but jumps right into the front line of battle. Leaders should learn from this young leader’s style of leadership- take initiative in performing the duties they expect employees to do. When employees see leaders rolling up their sleeves and unafraid to face the difficult tasks, they’ll act too and be more engaged.

Culled from


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4 thoughts on “Leadership Lessons from Game of Thrones”

  1. Onu Abraham says:

    “A true leader is not the one with the most followers, but one who creates the most leaders. Watching the games of thrones series, i realize that a good leader is one who inspires by his/her action and create leaders. My favourite; JON SNOW is a perfect example.

  2. Tridax says:

    Hmmmm, seems naive and inexperienced individuals (examples 2 and 4) make up with being good leaders. There is no one size fits all but when there is the -“performing the duties they expect employees to do” spirit, workplaces become enjoyable.

  3. Busola says:

    I actually believe that one’s leadership style will borrow from your wealth of character. As you progress in life, we find that everything we do and believe finds expression in our character. Once we begin to consciously strive towards being better human beings, everything we do, say, and act on (as leaders or otherwise) will feed on that positive energy.

  4. Foluso says:

    Oh! So I’m so a Rockie at ‘Thrones of Grace”, haven’t seen any of the series yet. But following this post, I will try to catch up with these characters soon, hopefully! Thanks for the write-up, I can relate more with No 2.

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