Leadership and management lessons from Game of Thrones

Throughout its eight seasons, Game of Thrones has become a modern manual of leadership and management strategies, sipping from ancient sources such as “The Art of War” by Sun Tzu or “The Prince” by Machiavelli. The world political history and organizations over the past centuries is full of leaders similar to the characters in the series. Let’s analyze what some of the most famous characters of Game of Thrones bring to us.

We started, as it could not be otherwise, with Daenerys Targaryen. Possessing a long list of titles such as “The mother of dragons”, “The unburnt”, Daenerys has represented throughout the series the leader typology that from an absolute faith in his future and in the final mission that destiny has adjudged, in his case to sit in the “Iron Throne”, surpasses each of the most difficult tests that life puts him ahead. Great defender of the oppressed in front of the oppressors, represents the universal justice that is ready for any decision to bring justice and break the millennial chains of the most disadvantaged. Their decisions are radical, but they are always justified as they end up defeating evil. And this is why his teams follow him to the ultimate consequences. There comes a time when his power is so absolute and the anger against his enemies so great, that to achieve his goals he ends up massively killing thousands of innocent people. It is the moment when the leader becomes a tyrant. Stop listening to your usual advisors, to make decisions unilaterally and guided by hatred and revenge. Believes in possession of the absolute truth, its truth. It is at that moment that it becomes unpredictable and dangerous for both friends and enemies, and it is her closest people who end up with her because she fears for her own life, and to avoid an endless war. Daenerys seeks absolute, crushing and humiliating victory, and what she gets for this reason is her own defeat. It is the classic case of a leader who creates a great movement that follows his postulates, and of people who believe in him in a blind way, but who, by his great desire for power and the hatred that has been accumulating, ends up becoming a tyrant that every organization fears losing on its side all kinds of talent and only staying with unconditional howlers without their own criteria. Obviously, any type of organization becomes impoverished.

Jon Snow, actually Aegon Targaryen, is the natural leader who always puts general interest and duty before his own interest. In the first season the Master of the “Night watch” asks the following: If the day came when your father had to choose between honor on the one hand and those he loves, on the other. What would he do? “He would do what was right no matter what,” replies Jon Snow, to which Maester Aemon adds: “Then, Lord Stark is a man in ten thousand. Most of us are not that strong. What is honor compared to a woman’s love? What is the duty against the feeling of a newborn child in your arms? Or the smile of a brother? ». As we know, Jon Snow puts duty before love and power. Faced with the proposal of Daenerys to create and govern a new world, the two of them, from the elimination of all their enemies, choose the duty of ending the future tyrant to avoid an endless war. He puts duty before immediate power and against the love he feels for it. The interest of others is above their own interest, regardless of the consequences. He is the leader who assumes the duty to do what no one else would dare, and also assumes the consequences, since by providing the solution he becomes the enemy of the Daenerys army and therefore ceases to be a viable option as a consensus leader to be chosen by all parties. It is the type of altruistic leader, he does not want to govern, he is very clear about the common good of the whole team, and his actions are always directed in this sense. In turn, he forgets that, often, decisions can only be made that favor the common good, from the government of an organization, and that, if this government is lost, leadership is no longer exercised.

Tyrion Lannister is the example of a resilient and wise leader. Life has put him in great difficulties since his birth, as we all know, but he has used these great difficulties to grow in knowledge and wisdom. He has never accumulated resentment against those who have mistreated him. Every stone on the road uses it to be stronger and better leader. He is intelligent, and uses his intelligence for the objectives of his organization, not only for his own interest, but also. He makes big mistakes, but he always forgives them because he assumes them and uses them to learn and excel. Know how to enjoy the victories that life offers and take on responsibilities in difficult moments. He knows how to put himself on the good side of history when he chooses Daenerys in front of his own family. And he has enough intelligence to be able to discern well situations where he can win, and situations where he does not have the necessary conditions to win and it is better that someone else faces the enemy. As in the last chapter. It is for this reason that he always emerges victorious from all battles, he knows how to measure very well the consequences of all his actions. Organizations always benefit from this type of leader. His balance between favoring the interest of the organization in most cases, without making disastrous decisions for himself, and his intelligence make organizations move towards their goals as long as the capabilities of the leader continue to improve over time and grow with the organization .

Sansa Stark is an example of a leader similar to Tyrion, but with many nuances. She is also a resilient leader. All the complications of life he uses to make himself stronger. He does not hold a grudge against his enemies, but he is not “naive” either. He knows that if he does not apply justice to his enemies and traitors, in the future they will betray him again. But he knows how to differentiate very well traitors, from people who do not follow their postulates. He is not a tyrant leader who eliminates all his adversaries by not following his orders. Unlike Daenerys, her strength as a leader does not come from being considered “the chosen one” for the throne of Winterfell. His strength comes from having to take responsibility for leading his people after the death of his father and brothers. In turn, the power is liked, because, with the necessary dose, there is no leader who does not get along with power. In key moments of the story always arrives in time to save your organization, Winterfell, as in the battle of the bastards. His strength, justice and resistance are perceived by his team as the necessary qualities to lead them. Finally, she becomes worthy of the “Queen in the North” chair when in the final chapter she is able to present and assert the interest of her people, facing the rest of the 6 kingdoms, but only after having fought as the What more to save all the living in the battle against the dead. The necessary dose between altruism and assertiveness that every leader needs to direct the organization towards the common objectives.

Finally, and there goes spoiler, Brandon Stark. In my opinion, he is the example of a leader who has never wanted to be a leader, nor lead, nor govern, but a combination of his exceptional life situations and the circumstances in which the organization finds himself is chosen as a leader. It is obvious that, without the multitude of battles between the leaders of the kingdoms until the implosion, Brandon would never have been king. It is the only consensus figure in a unique and exceptional situation. In no other case would have been chosen, but in the face of extreme situations, sometimes exceptional decisions are required, and characters that seem to come from other galaxies.


Internet Entrepreneur, Growth&Marketing C-Level, Startups & digital companies mentor, Free thinker

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Francesc Puigdemont Sanz

Internet Entrepreneur, Growth&Marketing C-Level, Startups & digital companies mentor, Free thinker