“‘Game of Thrones’ Leadership Lessons for the Office” by Robin Kawakami at the Wall Street Journal on 4 May 2015
Every once in a while I come across an article that makes me go “wow!” In this case, it was an article about Game of Thrones (GoT), which is a series of books by George R.R. Martin and an HBO series on TV (to be honest, I’ve only watched the series but I hear they are pretty similar). I really like the series so I automatically gravitated towards this article. Long-time VOCL readers and listener will note that I’ve already featured an article based on GoT – you can read that here. What set this article apart was the game you can play, but more on that later.
The article features commentary from three leadership experts, and they cover a range of topics including:
- Individual contribution versus leadership (even reluctant leadership)
- The value of understanding your resources (information is worth more than gold)
- Office politics and understanding your environment
- Authenticity (“never forget who you are”)
- Likability versus narcissism, Machiavellianism, and psychopathy
- Adaptability, and
- A fairly substantial section on women in leadership to close the article
What makes this article compelling is the translation of what you see and read into what you may or have experienced in your corporate life. In reading this article, I would extend the same logic to other aspects such as labour, government, and non-profits. After reading the article, I had a chance to play the game. I loved the Photoshopped graphics depicting these charters into business suits – it helped make the game that much more relevant since you could actually picture the various personalities at work. Based on a series of questions that are unscientific but fun nevertheless, it turns out that I’m aligned with Petyr Baelish AKA “Littlefinger.” Just for the heck of it, I tried it again and came up with Jon Snow. Both of these are fairly reasonable, but I must admit that I was secretly hoping for Tyrion Lannister. I really like his character, even though I could not drink anywhere near as much as him.