Elisabet Hearn and I wrote this for 2020visionleader.com
A couple of years ago we were interviewed by FlyBe magazine about leadership in the massively successful TV series Game of Thrones. It remains the most unexpected media request we’ve had so far:-). We were asked to share with their readers what leadership lessons we can take from watching the show (and its leaders). And we were specifically asked to comment on Daenerys Targaryen, Mother of Dragons.
It ended up being an interesting reflection and it reminded us that we can find inspiration and insights in all situations and settings – even in a fantasy series – as long as we look for it.
And as the much-anticipated Game of Throne prequel ‘House of the Dragon’ was released this week, we thought we’d share these timeless leadership lessons with you.
This is what we shared with FlyBe’s readers.
“Daenerys is passionate about people. When freeing the slaves she empowers them and shows them that everyone is, on some level, equal. Here her leadership impact is strong, she believes in people and that makes them believe in themselves.”
“She is also good at listening to others, her trusted advisors in particular, before making decisions. In doing this she shows that a good leader doesn’t need to have all the answers and that she values others’ experience and opinions, which boosts them and builds their loyalty.”
“On the negative side, you could argue that she offered freedom but, in some cases only if they gave up their freedom to her. This diminishes her positive impact as a leader as it seems she can only fully get people’s loyalty through threats and ultimatums.”
“Would she have been as powerful without her dragons? Probably not. Her dragons acted as, and were used as, a very real threat, which enabled Daenerys. She didn’t really allow people freedom; her hunger for power showed that anyone who didn’t support her had to be disposed of. This made her look weak and ultimately sealed her fate.”