Leadership in Westeros and Essential Training to Win the Battle for Iron Throne
May 11, 2018
As the penultimate season of HBO’s television phenomenon Game of Thrones reaches a conclusion, the battle for the Iron Throne and leadership of the fictional land of Westeros takes another step closer to resolution.
One of the draws of the programme has been the dramatic effects of the various leadership styles of main characters. With alarming regularity, the leadership flaws on the show have led to severe consequences, with all but the final few candidates falling as a result of a fundamental flaw.
With our focus on leadership and training at LMC after each episode release, there is many a debate about a leader’s particular style and what impact it has. Parallels to the real world can easily be drawn, and we often discuss what training would make a difference to some of the show’s characters.
We’re going to take a quick look at the critical areas for development for three of the main characters in the show.
WARNING: THERE ARE SPOILERS FOR SEASON 8 GAME OF THRONES AHEAD
What would LMC be recommending if we were advising on leadership development?
Cersei’s ruthlessness, plotting and political awareness are the key markers of her rise to the throne.
There are, however, a number of key failings which ultimately increase the likelihood that Cersei will meet an untimely end like her husband and father before her.
Cersei’s manipulative actions have led to short-term political gains and a power grab, however at a great cost. LMC would take Cersei through the key areas of Successful Strategic Management, allowing her to focus on longer-term plans, reducing the likelihood of religious rebellions, and removing the necessity to blow up the Citadel in order to eliminate rivals.
This planning would allow for better strategic alliances, such as marriages into the Martell family or bonds with the High Sparrow.
Similarly, and in close parallel to Donald Trump’s denial of global warming, Cersei might allow for more strategic research into the immediate environment which would bring a clearer understanding that ‘Winter is coming’ to Westeros and plans need to be made.
Jon’s bravery and authentic leadership certainly win the hearts and minds of those closest to him, and his willingness to sacrifice ego or entitlement for the greater good is undeniably a strong quality.
But were our learning and development to spend some time with Jon, we would undoubtedly look to advise him to focus on his skills in the area of Evaluating Risk, Decision Making and Change.
Jon’s motives were undeniably correct in bringing the Wildlings South of the wall. However, the inability to plan for the risk involved, to communicate his vision and to overcome resistance to change, quickly found him being stabbed to death by his peers. After a hasty resurrection, LMC would have guided Jon through a well thought out programme of change that would have eased the transition of the Wildlings into the North, and effectively communicated the long-term benefits of the programme.
Similarly, we’d like to think that with some Executive Decision Making and Problem Solving training, we could assist Jon in reducing the repeated need to make rash decisions such as running headlong into battlefields or vanishing North of the Wall for some noble battle.
Training would point out the benefits of collective decision making and demonstrate tools for him to do this effectively, maybe even delegating some of those responsibilities to his loyal followers, and freeing up time to concentrate on being King of the North.
One of the fascinating examples of Daenerys leadership style and approach has been how it has evolved significantly.
From a starting point of leading autocratically and relying on the power and threat of her dragons, she has evolved into a leader willing to take advice and support from key advisors.
Her tactical decision making has improved as a result, so at LMC we would be keen to stress the importance of her Recruitment, Selection and Talent Retention.
What Queen of Westeros would want to ensure that the brightest minds fill each of her central council positions in the kingdom; while at the same time, knowing the importance of keeping the likes of Tyrion and Bronn happy with outstanding compensation and benefits schemes?
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