Leadership Styles as told by Game of Thrones

Juran Blog

You’ve seen every episode, you’ve taken sides, and you’ve set aside Sunday nights as a sacred time reserved only for Game of Thrones. But you no longer have to feel guilty about all those times you’ve binge watched, because Game of Thrones has ample lessons to teach us, from how to detect a bloody coup in the works to practical case studies on different organizational leadership styles.

At Juran, we have over 60 years of experience empowering organizations to reach beyond their limits. But more importantly we are huge Game of Thrones fans who saw a direct correlation between our favorite show and the most common mistakes and successes made by leaders in today’s world.

Learn how to embody the best leaders and conquer your enemies to broaden your kingdom…or empower your team to be their most productive, enthusiastic selves at work…same thing, really.

5 Types of Leadership Styles:

Queen Cersei sitting on throne

Autocratic/Command and control style
Leaders make decisions alone, with no input from others. Punishment is used to incentivize workers, who have no control over their daily working lives.

In real life: Kim Jong-un and Vladimir Putin are known for ruling with an iron fist. They take input from no one and dole out harsh punishment to those who dare to cross them.

In GOT: Queen Cersei

Sansa Stark

Laissez-Faire leaders provide little to no supervision to their teams, which can be a particular hindrance to employees that require approval or input for their work, as well as new employees. This style works for very few leaders, but in most cases leads to slow productivity, poor quality, and rising costs. This type of team can feel like it’s been left in constant chaos.

In real life: Warren Buffett, one of the most successful business magnates of our time, is a textbook example of laissez-faire leadership employed correctly. He allows his employees to make decisions with relatively little guidance from superiors. While this is often a risky strategy, Mr. Buffett has made it work to his advantage.

In GOT: Sansa Stark when she takes over for Jon Snow

Jamie Lannister

Charismatic leaders are just what they sound like: charismatic! Their big personalities and even bigger dreams motivate their teams to give it their all, but charismatic leaders often aren’t as fun and inspiring as they sound. These leaders are self-focused and are using employees as tools to get what they want. There is typically no concern for burning employees out or developing their skill, and the relationship can turn icy quickly if any individual is unable to meet the high expectations of a charismatic leader.

In real life: Jack Welch, CEO of GE, was the youngest executive when he joined the company, and his charismatic leadership led General Electric to increase the company’s worth by 4000%. However, he was often criticized for being ruthless in his termination of employees who failed to meet his sometimes unreachable standards.

In GOT: Jamie Lannister

Daenerys Targaryen

Transactional leaders set goals, and then work with their teams to establish ways to accomplish them. Team members are given rewards or punishments in accordance with their performance.

In real life: Jeff Bezos, CEO of Amazon. As an employer, Amazon is known for innovation and intensity. Workers are expected to take on enormous amounts of responsibility and work, but are rewarded well for their successes.

In GOT: Daenerys Targaryen

Jon Snow

Leaders are directly involved with their teams, and have worked hard to institute a culture of trust and mutual understanding. Employees are empowered to make sound decisions by their leaders, who are constantly encouraging them to gain new skills and better their existing ones by offering certifications and group learning initiatives.

In real life: Jim Whitehurst, CEO of Red Hat. Mr. Whitehurst is known not only for the open-source technology produced by Red Hat, but also his encouragement of employees to continually train and learn new skills. He fosters an open and communicative environment that encourages the sharing of opinions and knowledge.

In GOT: Jon Snow

Check out this Blog: How Leaders Play a Role in Culture

While you always knew you wanted to be a Jon Snow instead of a Queen Cersei, we hope you now have some tactical examples of how to put that into play in your real life. You know….the life that exists outside of Game of Thrones.

Want to find out how small changes to leadership styles can transform your organization? Fill out the form below to consult with the Juran team about which certification/assessment can move your organization forward.

Matthew Muller Juran

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