Does Game Of Thrones Reflect Real World Leadership?

***Spoiler alert from Season 5***

There’s something addictive about watching the complex, narcissistic and often brutal ways leaders go about their business in Game of Thrones. Or how supernatural influences such as fire gods, threats of eternal winters, and dragons help to shape crucial decisions.

It’s a crazy Throny world where scheming, back stabbing and falsifying evidence are commonplace, and where being the ‘nice guy’ usually means maiming or death. Where power comes as a birth right, not a privilege.

Real world leadership doesn’t reflect the power struggles and brutality of Game of Thrones…usually…but comparisons can be drawn.

Success as a leader means upskilling, building relationships and gaining respect by applying the right set of skills and knowledge and achieving something others can’t.

John Snow’s winning vote as Lord of the Night’s Watch is the perfect example of how tenacity, loyalty, ability to lead, skills and foresight can crown a leader.

If Game of Thrones can teach us anything about leadership, perhaps it is that success comes from the following:

  • Ensuring the strong survive – demonstrating knowledge, determination, foresight, and the ability to communicate
  • Establishing special counsel – using trusted advisors to assist in key decision-making
  • Taking it from the horse’s mouth – hearing it for yourself and taking action
  • Knowing ‘Winter is coming’ – being prepared and willing to face challenges head on
  • Keeping your enemies close – knowing exactly what the other side is thinking and being a step ahead
  • Being the butcher – Making hard decisions when needed
  • Freeing the slaves – Giving those under your leadership reason to respect you and want to follow you
  • Finding the faceless god – Putting selfish motives aside and taking a moral path