Leadership lessons from Game of Thrones
“Chaos isn’t a pit. Chaos is a ladder”
Chaos reveals a leader’s strength. Only when chaos reigns, do many leaders rise. Good leaders aren’t thwarted by challenges. They use challenges to foist them higher. As Littefinger, highlights: "Many who try to climb fail and never get to try again. The fall breaks them.” Leaders are not broken. They continue to climb.
“Never forget what you are, for surely the world will not. Make it your strength. Then it can never be your weakness. Armour yourself in it, and it will never be used to hurt you.”
Use the assets you have at your disposal. Daenerys Targaryen has her precious dragons, but all businesses have something that is unique and appeals to consumers. Know what that is, be able to articulate it, and use it wisely to help your business succeed.
“Different roads sometimes lead to the same castle.”
Be Good at Strategy. Be willing to listen to others. Be open to feedback and possible changes in direction.
“Knowledge is a weapon. Arm yourself well before you ride forth to battle.”
Know your domain well, learn well before you start with anything. Be open to learning along the way.
“Loyal service means telling hard truths.”
If all you want is a “yes-man”, you probably won’t have to look very far, especially if you’re in a leadership position. The person who cares enough about you to tell you where you’re making mistakes is harder to find.
"The man who passes the sentence should swing the sword."
Don't shy away from making tough calls. And just as importantly, do the unpleasant work to follow through. As Ned reminds us, "He who hides behind executioners soon forgets what death is." Leaders who spend time in the trenches, doing the tough work, will take making tough decisions more seriously.