Let me start by saying that if you haven’t watched this epic show or haven’t watched the latest episodes then you shouldn’t read this; it contains spoilers.
I must say that I am a huge fan of Game of Thrones mostly because the plot has plenty of romance, sex, backstabbing, sworn and broken allegiances, rumor mongering and whispers. The recently ended season had a twist of events; some we wished for, others were unexpected while others were just heartbreaking. But as I reflect back on it, I realized that the regal warriors and warlocks in this captivating TV series could actually teach employers a thing or two lessons about being a good employer. The series draws clear lines between democracy and dictatorship and manipulation and influence.
1. Being A Bully Gets You Nowhere
Ever met that employer who thinks his position of power gives him the right to demand his employees to do whatever he wants? He loves controlling his employees by using fear. His employees are forever walking on eggshells around him; you never know when you might tick him off and what the consequences will be.
In Game of Thrones, there was a character that we all loved to despise; Joffrey Baratheon. Frankly, I wished the little retard a slow painful death. He was a bully and would have done everything to make sure that anyone who crossed him suffered greatly.
He rarely listened to anyone including his own mother. He was a very ineffective leader and as such was despised by everyone. His irrationality made him start a war that he couldn’t end. With his cruelty, it’s a miracle he made it to the fourth season-but then, someone who couldn’t stand his sadistic ways poisoned him.
So what can we learn from Joffrey Baratheon? First, being a bully gets you nowhere. Your employees will only tolerate working for you because they need the money but once they find something better, even if it pays much less, they will bolt.
Second, being a bully makes you less of a team player. Your coerciveness will only doom your organization to failure. And do not be surprised if one of your employees takes you down with them on their way out the door.
2. Being An Inspiration Increases Productivity
So you may not be good at accounting and you’re not very good at writing your own speeches but nobody cares because you know your strengths. A good employer uses his strengths (and other people’s as well) to steer the organization in the right direction. He knows his weaknesses but he does not let them deter him from achieving the organization’s goals.
Tyrion Lannister portrays the characteristics of an inspiring employer very well. Despite the fact that he is a dwarf, he uses his sense of humor and charm to win over the ladies and to wiggle his way through dangerous situations. Despite his petite form, he has proven that he can still have a huge impact.
For instance, he led his men in the Battle of Blackwater while the King, Joffrey Baratheon, ran to hide with the women. He inspires the men with his words knowing full well that his small stature would present him with a serious disadvantage in battle.
Tyrion Lannister teaches us that employees will naturally put their best foot forward and become more productive when an employer makes them feel like they belong in the organization and they serve a purpose. Employers who focus on their strengths rather than compensate for their weaknesses lead more effectively.
3. Democracy May Earn You Respect
A democratic employer does things that benefit not only for the organization but also the employees. They step up and do what needs to be done. They know that acquiring the title of CEO is not enough; they need to earn the respect and loyalty of their employees.
Daenerys Targaryen portrays the democratic employer very well. She has earned her reputation as the Breaker of Chains. She frees slaves from their masters and urges them to follow and fight for her not by force but out of free will.
So there you have it, the three lessons an employer can learn from Game of Thrones. As an employer, do you have any of the above three traits? Do you agree with my list or just like Jon Snow, “I know nothing?” I’d love to know what other lessons you think employers can learn from the show by commenting below.