5 Leadership Lessons from Game of Thrones


Warning: this article contains spoilers, from previous seasons!

The new season of Game of Thrones is here! It’s a show jam-packed full of dramatic deaths, tense twists and a lot of characters. However, ultimately Game of Thrones is about one thing, who should be the almighty leader of the Seven Kingdoms of Westeros?

There have been a few leadership contenders over the first 5 seasons, so let’s look back at what they taught us about leadership.

1. Being a bully will get you nowhere

Game of Thrones offers a valuable lesson in how not to let power go to your head. Enter one of the most detestable characters in the series, Joffrey Baratheon.

Joffrey sought to strengthen his leadership position with fear and needless to say his time on the Iron Throne was short-lived. The 13-year-old king was clearly a bully which made him a highly ineffective leader. He refused to listen to others and independently made a string of terrible decisions.

In the end, Joffrey was poisoned by one of his own subjects, meeting a painful but perhaps well-deserved end. It’s a shame he wasn’t more of a team player.

joffrey game of thrones

2. Leaders should lead by example

Who could forget Ned Stark? He was put to death way back in season 1, but for many still stands out as one of the best leaders throughout the whole series. Despite being uninterested in the pursuit of the Iron Throne, Lord Eddard Stark was a great leader who acted as a role model for his followers. He took pride in his honour and stayed true to his word which inspired great loyalty.

Stark respected his power and responsibility and always stepped up to the plate, even when his duties were unpleasant. He declared, “The man who passes the sentence should swing the sword.” RIP Ned!

Ned Stark game of thrones

3. Leaders should be self-aware and know their strengths

The Game of Thrones series had been a roller-coaster ride for Tyrion Lannister. While small in stature, he stands above many when it comes to leadership qualities. Tyrion’s logic, wit and intelligence has made him one of the most popular characters of the series and you can’t help but hope that he is going to come out on top as a dragon rider!

What makes Tyrion a great leader is his ability to recognise and play to his strengths. His intelligence has made him one of the most influential players in the game of thrones and he has successfully outlived many of his family members and enemies. He often makes a big impact by ruling behind the scenes and knows how to achieve his goals. Tyrion also recognises his weaknesses, such as fighting in battle, but isn’t afraid to tackle them.

With his drive, self-awareness and his dedication to development, Tyrion makes for an effective leader.

Tyrion game of thrones

4. Knowledge is power

Knowing your stuff earns your respect and enhances your position of power. Just look at Peter Baelish and Varys (aka. The Spider); neither men were born into powerful families and yet they have worked their way up into significant positions of power. How? They know things! Gaining expertise in an industry/field will earn respect from your colleagues and cause them to look to you for help and advice.

Little finger game of thrones

5. We respect leaders who are fair

The best leaders are those who know how to be fair and democratic. Consider the journey of Daenerys Targaryen. After releasing thousands from the chains of slavery she offers all the free will to choose their path and this earns her an almighty following. She does not use her position of authority to demand respect, but earns respect and passionate loyalty through her actions. It may help that she has three dragons as well…

daenarys game of thrones

Hopefully, your ascent to leadership isn’t as cut-throat as that in Game of Thrones. With the right skills and attitude you may find yourself at the top quicker than you think.

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