[SPOILER ALERT – If you haven’t watched Season 5, proceed with caution.]
Are you in a dead end position? Does it sometimes feel like you are leading a team of ingrates or idiots? Are you unappreciated by your boss, your team or even your customers? Or is some power-hungry, incompetent, pimple-faced kid wearing your crown?
Whether your aim is to attract high achieving team members, take home more cash, land the coveted corner office, or build a brand that customers are dying to say “yes” to, there’s much to learn about leadership and business from your favorite Game of Thrones characters.
Based on the best-selling book series by George R. R. Martin, the show purports to be a fantasy drama about swords, seven kingdoms, social hierarchy, sex and sorcery but at its essence, it’s a master class on power, persuasion and leadership. The story revolves around the battle for the right to sit on the Iron Throne – to be the King the Seven Kingdoms – and as you would suspect, there are many characters who feel they have the only legitimate right to lead.
In many ways it’s the age old battle between good and evil but as we all know, power has the potential to corrupt and sometimes the lines between influence vs manipulation, leadership vs dictatorship, and death vs destiny become blurred. And if you think about it, this same power struggle is very likely playing out right now in your business or place of employment to varying degrees.
Can you spot the leader among this selection of fascinating, flawed and feared characters? Or is each one destined to play a subservient role or worse… be stabbed, poisoned or beheaded?
- The Democratic Leader
As the lone surviving child of the overthrown “Mad King”, Aerys Targaryen, Daenerys starts out adamantly believing that the Iron Throne is her birthright. As the series begins, she is forced into exile after her father is killed – which is where she marries the Dothraki leader Drogo, becomes the Khaleesi, and slowly earns a reputation as the “Breaker of Chains” and the “Mother of Dragons”.
The influence of the Dothraki on her leadership style is unmistakable. While others in Westeros follow self-proclaimed or inherited leaders, the Dothraki will only follow the one who has the strength to lead: You may lead as long as you are a leader.
By the end of season 4, she has amassed a large army of slaves from many cities, including the Unsullied. Even though the Unsullied must follow without question, she breaks their chains and invites them to choose to fight on her behalf. In freeing them and thousands of other slaves, Khaleesi discovers that birthright alone is not enough: The respect and loyalty she earns by choice, rather than force, is far more powerful and enduring. In the finale, we see her leadership style evolve yet again as she regretfully chains two of her beloved dragons up in the catacombs when she discovers that the third has killed a three year old girl.
Leadership Lesson: People follow strength above all. Regardless of birthright, death, appointment or tenure, leaders lead. They step up and do what needs to be done without the need for a title or lauding it over others. Saying someone is a leader doesn’t make them an effective one. In Jim Collin’s list of the top leaders in Good To Great, all were characterized by the absence of celebrity. For a leader to achieve something great, her ambition must be for the greatness of the work and the company, and not solely for herself.
- The Coercive Leader
We all know someone in a position of power who didn’t doesn’t deserve it and cannot handle it. Joffrey Baratheon was the quintessential, incompetent heir. In addition to his questionable lineage (i.e. he was a child of incest between Cersei and Jamie Lannister and not the first born son of Robert Baratheon), he made almost every mistake imaginable as the young King of the Seven Kingdoms. He was a bully, braggart, spiteful, irrational, a poor negotiator and a coward. Joffrey refused to listen to anyone’s advice, even though he was very young and had no battle (or leadership) experience. Perhaps Cersei summed it up best when she tried to counsel him to be a more benevolent leader – “The occasional kindness will spare you all sorts of trouble down the road.”
It’s a miracle that he lasted as long as he did. At his wedding to Margaery Tyrell, Joffrey was poisoned by a wine goblet at the banquet. His final gesture, as he lay dying in the arms of his mother, was to point towards his uncle Tyrion Lannister, as if to finger him as the assassin/culprit.
Leadership Lesson: While sometimes effective in a crisis, the “do as I tell you approach” should be avoided in every other circumstance as it can alienate team members, smother innovation and stifle flexibility. You cannot call yourself a leader if you are despised and you refuse to listen to feedback and suggestions from your team. This sort of leader will doom your workplace to failure as they will often take down other members, or the whole organization, on their way out the door.
- The Affiliative Leader
He may be one of the smallest characters, but Tyrion Lannister, the dwarf son of the most powerful man in King’s Landing, is a fan favourite who proves that it is possible to have a big impact no matter how small (or insignificant you feel) you are.
In the battle of Blackwater, Tyrion realizes that he must take charge and rally the men to fight — the King (Joffrey Baratheon) has run to hide with the women, his brother Jamie (the Kingslayer) is missing and his father Tywin Lannister is delayed in battle elsewhere. In addressing the men, Tyrion knows full well that his small stature is a serious disadvantage in battle and that the men are, outnumbered, scared and reluctant to put their own lives on the line for their cowardly King.
Tyrion does what Tyrion does best – he wastes no time on giving them a speech about honour, duty or glory, but rather, he inspires them with the “what’s in it for me” speech.
“Don’t fight for your king, don’t fight for his kingdoms, don’t fight for honour, don’t fight for glory, don’t fight for riches because you won’t get any. This is your city – Stannis Baratheon means to sack, your gate he’s ramming. If he gets in, it will be your houses he burns, your gold he steals, your women he will rape. Those are brave men knocking at our door. Let’s go kill them!”
Leadership Lesson: To lead you must always focus on strengths (yours and others) as opposed to attempting to compensate for weaknesses. People will naturally follow a leader who creates emotional bonds that bring a sense of belonging and purpose to each individual and the team.
- The Reluctant Leader
Jon Snow is the illegitimate son of Eddard (Ned) Stark and an unnamed prostitute. He was raised by Ned and Catelyn Stark and is much more introverted and solemn than his half siblings. Growing up with illegitimate status made him indignant and it spawned a deep desire to prove himself – as is evidenced by his decision to join the Night’s Watch and his choice of duty over love on many occasions.
Even as a valuable member of ”the rejected”, Jon finds himself an outcast and in direct conflict with both the leader of the Night’s Watch and the Wildlings. Despite all of this, Jon is a proven and effective leader of men, having been instrumental in battle against the wildlings, Stannis Baratheon and others. His time at the wall has solidified his resolve and allowed him to explore his true potential. However, notwithstanding his obvious clarity of vision, strategy, foresight, emotional intelligence and purpose, he is reluctant to claim the mantle of “Leader”.
Leadership Lesson: Leaders are made not born. Regardless of pedigree, tenure or title, people will naturally gravitate to the one who has purpose, passion and conviction. With the right mentorship and encouragement, these reluctant leaders (with street cred and loyal followers) can evolve and develop over time to become formidable and unassailable leaders.
- The Fanatical Leader
Stannis Baratheon, the eldest brother of the late King Robert Baratheon, was arguably the rightful heir given that Joffrey was not the legitimate son of Robert. He is a tried and tested battle leader whose dedication to the rule of law and stability means he provides generously for those under his rule and punishes those who challenge him or disobey his will.
As the story unfolds, he becomes increasingly rigid in his views, dependent on the black magic and prophesies of Melisandre and his iron-fisted leadership style alienates him from even his closest advisors. He is without empathy or mercy and simply cannot conceive of a world where anyone would see things differently to him.
Leadership Lesson: It is impossible to lead effectively (and with longevity) without empathy and the loyalty/respect of your team. A leader who continually trusts only himself and insists on holding all of his cards tightly to his chest, will quickly find himself with no team members to lead. This leader may very well be brilliant but he will nonetheless, fail miserably.
- The Charming Leader
Margaery Tyrell is a natural born politician, loved by the common people and one of the few characters uses her feminine wiles to gain power and persuade others. She has no army and no familial right to the Iron Throne yet she consistently re-positions herself within close proximity of it.
Even after her husband Joffrey is poisoned at their wedding banquet, she is quick to endear herself to his younger brother Tommen (the successor) and cleverly manipulate an important conversation with Cersei Lannister, to procure another shot at becoming Queen.
Margaery is under the careful tutelage of her grandmother Lady Olenna Tyrell. Now Lady Olenna has no formal authority, army or birthright to the Throne but nonetheless, she is one of the most unassuming, skilful and powerful characters. As an elderly, unmarried woman, Olenna flies completely under the radar but has had a monumental impact on the balance of power: Olenna was a linchpin in the assassination of Joffrey Baratheon. The Tyrell family control one of the major food production regions in Westeros and have assured the Lannisters that King’s Landing would continue to receive uninterrupted shipments, thus preventing rioting which previously destabilized the regime. At the end of Season 4, The Lannisters remain tenuously in power (reeling from the death of Tywin Lannister in the finale), due to the support of the Tyrell family.
Leadership Lesson: If you want to successfully herd a group of cats, try opening a can of tuna. Diplomacy and strategy may very well be more effective than strength, birthright or money.
- The Adaptive Leader
In a series known for twists and surprises and the untimely death of several key, beloved characters with strong leadership potential (Eddard Stark, Rob Stark etc.), Sansa Stark may herself be somewhat of a wildcard. Until the middle of the fourth series, she would best be described as meek, sheltered, naive and insignificant.
With each episode she is becoming increasingly worldly under first the tutelage of Joffrey Baratheon, then Tyrion Lannister and now Littlefinger. The seeds have effectively been sown for her dramatic metamorphosis. Born with her father’s sense of passion, honour and justice, she is slowly learning how to use her own innocence, frailty and trustworthiness as a weapon and tool to manipulate others. By the end of the fourth season there can be no doubt that she is not the same little girl who was kept hostage and bullied by King Joffrey. Even though we have no indication that she aspires to greatness or a position of leadership, she is being groomed for something important and she now has a deeper understanding of what it takes to rule the 7 Kingdoms. It would not be inconceivable for her to play a pivotal role alongside Littlefinger in future episodes.
Leadership Lesson: Adaptive leaders exert strategic influence on their environment by being willing to experiment, modelling behaviours of proven leaders, encouraging innovation and taking calculated risks. They excel as leaders when there is commitment and trust between the followers and them: In the absence of these two things, they are at best master manipulators and will be relegated to positions of secondary importance behind the scenes.
- The Unified Leader
It takes a unique, agile and talented individual to breach a 700-foot high wall of ice and overthrow a whole civilization. But it takes a leader to unite a group of wildlings, beasts and giants who are essentially defined by their independence and wild, unbridled nature.
Mance Rayder, The King Beyond the Wall, is the great leadership wildcard in the series because we know so little about him. If he can unite a large, diverse group of barbarians and mount The Wall, he may be a strong contender for leadership in a Westeros divided by petty squabbles and a bunch of King- Wanna-bees. However, In the Season 4 finale, Stannis Baratheon shows up to fortify the efforts of the Night’s Watch at The Wall and Mance Rayder is taken prisoner – his fate and future leadership aspirations are put into the hands of Stannis and Melisandre.
Leadership Lesson: A united team is more powerful than a group of passionate individuals working independently on their own goals. If you are an effective leader, you will choose people who are committed and focused on a singular goal–your goal. The worst thing you can do is to surround yourself with a team that does not believe in your vision or product/service.
When you look around your business or place of work, do you recognize any of these stereotypical leadership styles? Are you leading (or being led by someone) with an iron fist or do you feel as though your chains have been removed and you are finally free to reach your full potential?
Whatever the case may be, it pays to ask yourself “what type of leader do I aspire to be” and “whose vision of the future do I want to be a part of”? In the end we must all ask ourselves the million dollar question – “What is a Leader?”
As explained by Jim Collins in Good To Great, great leadership often goes unnoticed, unappreciated and unpublicized by the masses. Studying the foibles and virtues of these fascinating Game of Thrones characters is a great way to experiment with different styles and develop some strategies for enhancing or honing your own unique style.
Do you agree with my list, or like Jon Snow, “do I know nothing”? What other leadership lessons do you think can be learnt from the show? Get in touch and share your insights now via the comments section below.
**This blog is an excerpt taken from a series of posts and press releases on this subject by Rhondalynn Korolak. She is a lawyer, chartered accountant, media commentator, keynote speaker and best-selling author of 3 books, the most recent of which –Sales Seduction–is in theTop 20 Sales and Marketing Books on Amazon.com
It is critical, particularly during challenging economic times, that business owners recognize their employees for all their hard work. If you can reaffirm and re-enforce your team members’ value and contribution while your organization is coping with the global downturn, you stand a better chance of retaining your best people when the economy turns around and opportunities to leave become plentiful.
When we think of employee recognition, most may think of praise and financial rewards. However, it will require a holistic and integrated approach to ensure that members of your team know their importance to your continued success. Nearly everything we do as business owners in the workplace either contributes to or takes away from how recognized and appreciated our employees feel. If you, as the owner and leader of the organization, go into work feeling and acting as if you are a victim of the down economy, your team will follow your lead and adopt a helpless attitude and blame external factors for lack of growth and sales.
Employee recognition can be used strategically by employers to reward good behaviour and keep team members “present” and accountable for favourable results. It builds and reinforces the belief that they work for a company that cares and it reminds them to look for solutions (as opposed to focusing on problems or what is not working in the business).
But all employee recognition is not created equal. Almost all businesses use varying combinations of intrinsic recognition – health-care benefits, flexible work hours, time-in-lieu for volunteer activities, training opportunities and annual awards.
But recent studies (surveying thousands of workers across Australia) have clearly shown that the cornerstone of meaningful employee recognition is actually “opportunity”. An award may be a tangible, formal sign of recognition, but employees view opportunity as the primary indicator that their manager values them.
Opportunities don’t have to be expensive to be effective. You can provide the chance for a team member to better themselves by doing something as simple as trusting them with VIP customers or introducing them to a key figure inside or outside of the organization. It’s also been proven that employees find recognition more inherently valuable when it’s administered individually (i.e. in private) rather than in public.
The business owner or manager is the essential component when it comes to effectively recognizing valuable team members. Companies should employ the 80-20 rule-keeping in mind that team members respond best to a blend of diverse mix of employee recognition. Only a small percentage (20%) of an employee’s overall recognition can come from peers and financial means before it loses its effect. The remaining 80% should come from the business (i.e. intrinsic recognition) and direct praise must always come from the manager, and be delivered in private, in order to maximize the impact.
When you consider it from the perspective of the employee, it makes perfect sense. The manager or business owner ultimately decides who gets hired, who gets fired and who gets promoted. Timely approval and recognition from the owner or manager is the best way for an employee to judge his/her progress and stay accountable by focusing on targets and solutions. Opportunity is in fact the #1 motivator – and it often won’t cost the business a cent, which is great news in challenging times like these.
Many different factors have the potential to cause stress in a person’s life. If you take a look around you will see that some people have learned to manage and control their levels of stress much better than others. Even though there is no 1 specific key or “secret” to manage stress, the answer lies in learning to balance of a combination of little things and your physiology.
High levels of stress can lead to various medical conditions, negatively impact your daily routine and impair your ability learn and recall. The hormones which the brain releases in stressful situations are meant for fight or flight situations only – over use of these can actually be detrimental to the health of your brain and body.
Work (whether you own your own business or not) is filled with challenges, obstacles and opportunities that have the potential to cause stress. Knowing how this impacts you physically is the first step leading you to new insights and understandings on how to manage and control your reactions in an empowering way.
Your body language is a powerful indication of your ability to handle stress and problems. When your body encounters a stressful situation, hormones are automatically released into your adrenal glands to counterbalance the cortisol in your brain. Equilibrium is established when these stimulating and tranquilizing forces become equal. When one is greater than the other, you will experience a sense of imbalance, commonly referred to as stress.
In fact, your body goes to great lengths to prevent you from experiencing imbalance or stress. Your sympathetic nervous system and parasympathetic nervous system essentially battle each other to bring your body back to equilibrium. This fight or flight response to stress also necessitates the shutting down of many of the other key systems in the body – which makes it much more difficult to reason, react and communicate while in this agitated state.
It is next to impossible to eliminate stress completely from your life. Some stress is actually good for us. However, learning how to quickly and reliably relieve stress and become focused will enable you to tackle challenges with a clear head, communicate clearly and navigate tense situations. In fact, the best way to reduce stress quickly and reliably is through managing the sensory input received by the body: through sight, sound, smell, taste, and touch. Each person responds differently to various levels and types of sensory input – the trick is to find out what works best for you to manage stress.
We all have different preferences, tolerances and needs. For example, certain kinds of music or distinctive smells may relax one person but irritate another. Take the time to discover what works best for you at home, in your car, at the office, or wherever you may encounter stress. Simple deep breathing and relaxation techniques also work wonders and they are free, easy to implement and produce quick results.
Harnessing the power of sensory stress-busting techniques will provide you with a powerful technique for staying calm, collected and in control. You’ll have the assurance to face adversity and challenge in every aspect of your life, knowing that you have the ability to bring your body back into a state of equilibrium and ease.
There are always going to be several things constantly competing for your time – marketing campaigns to design, team members to manage, customers to respond to, business opportunities to explore, issues to follow up, personal commitments etc. However, whenever you try to work on too many things at the same time, inevitably none of them ever gets done. Business success often comes down to focus.
To assist my clients in staying on track and keeping things simple, I developed the following list of 5 simple techniques/questions to put things into perspective. When in doubt – check the list for guidance.
1. Has Anyone Died? If not, relax and calm down. As long as no one has died, it’s really not that serious and there is a solution to every challenge you face.
2. Are You Trying to Eat an Elephant in One Sitting? Breaking things into bite sized chunks makes the world of difference. Having broad high level goals are good but having an actionable plan is essential. A detailed, step by step plan can help you to identify how you can get from where you are to where you want to be. Remember, a journey of 1000 miles begins with one step.
3. Are You In A Bad Neighbourhood? If you are not in a good place emotionally, change your physiology immediately. That means get up and get moving, put on your favourite song or do the “dance of joy”. Whatever it takes, do it NOW.
4. Are You Grateful For What You Already Have? It is impossible to bring more of what you want into your life if you are feeling ungrateful about what you already have. It has been said that the whole is more than the sum of its parts. In many ways gratitude is a bit like that – it’s not what you say, the mere words that count, but sum of the words and the heartfelt emotion behind them.
5. Are You focused on What You Want or Don’t Want? Whether we realise it or not, we are visualising things all the time – visualising either what we want or don’t want. If you are relentlessly focused on the negative outcome and are riddled by fear that WILL impact your reality.
It’s very easy to get so caught up in the emotion of emergencies, disruptions and day to day activities that you can easily lose sight of what is most important to your business success and well-being. These simple tips and questions will help you stay more in touch which is what is most essential to you and your compelling future. These techniques (and keeping a sense of humour) are vital to helping you to stay in focus with your ultimate goals and business success.
Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/2314715
Right now you are laughing because it is funny. It is funny because it happens all the time. And if you are still laughing it may be because you are masterful at getting what you don’t want?
For some reason it seems the more you tell someone NOT to do something, the more likely it is that it WILL happen. Why is that? Sometimes we attribute it to simple disobedience – for example a child testing a parent, when the parent has said “don’t do that.”
However, it is more than just a simple testing of the boundaries. There is a biological, scientific reason for getting what you don’t want and it has to do with the way that our brains are wired.
So why do we always seem to do the very thing that we are told not to do?
Our Subconscious brain struggles to process negatives. In effect it hears and acts upon the command to do the very thing that we DON’T want it to do – i.e. “smoke” or “spill the coffee.”
In fact, the subconscious mind cannot think – it can only ACT or CREATE based upon what is of VALUE. That value is a product of our map of reality and every event we have experienced over a lifetime. The subconscious is actually 100x more powerful than the conscious mind and the subconscious is an AUTOMATIC mechanism. It kicks in and acts about 1/2 second before the conscious mind does – so if your embedded beliefs, attitudes, values etc. are negative, you end up always getting what you don’t want.
If you say to yourself over and over “Don’t spill the drink” or you tell a child “Don’t miss the ball”, you are focusing the attention of the subconscious mind on the opposite of what is desired. Instead of saying “carry the drink safely to the counter” or “hit the ball son”, you have commanded the automatic mechanism to do exactly what you DON’T want. The automatic mechanism of the mind is focusing on missing the ball. It’s not that the mind doesn’t hear the word “Don’t” (or cannot understand it) it’s that the ENTIRE SENTENCE is designed to create the opposite of what is wanted. You have to look at the sentence in its entirety to understand why it will not work to create the desired effect.
That is in fact why many books self help books, DVDs and audio CDs DON’T work to deter unwanted habits and behaviours. Many of the NLP and hypnosis practitioners have loaded their materials with embedded commands like “you will not have any problems sleeping”, “you will not want to have any more cigarettes” or “you will no longer have cravings for fried chicken and beer”. Unfortunately, these programs are doomed from the start. They only serve to further entrench these undesirable patterns.
If you want to change behaviour or get around a problem you must think of new ways to phrase the desired behaviour in a positive way. This requires the removal of all negatives or references to the problem in the sentence. Rather than saying “Don’t mess up the calculations” you could say “Be careful to ensure all the calculations in the spreadsheet are double checked and correct”. Instead of saying to your child “Don’t throw that toy at your sister” you should say “Put the toy down now and come to me”.
Instead of telling yourself what NOT to do, focus exclusively on what you want do to (or have happen). It can be difficult for some to unlearn old patterns and pessimistic language. However with practice and the positive reinforcement that comes from achieving the results that you desire most, you will find yourself speaking and behaving in new and empowering ways.
Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/3142214