Leadership Lessons from Episode 3 of Game of Thrones

***May include spoilers

I am still on an incredible high from last night’s Game of Thrones episode. Knowing that some of my favorite characters lived to fight another day brings me great comfort however I would like a full survivors list in order to confirm.

The survival of humanity was in large part due to the #WomenofWinterfell. Arya is clearly the MVP and Lady Mormont should get employee of the year at the very least.

What many of us witnessed last night was a master class in leadership. Here are a few leadership takeaways.

  1. Leaders lead with or without a title
    It goes without saying that Jon is reluctant to embrace an official title but most of the warriors on that battlefield fight because of Jon Snow. Tormund and the Night’s Watch have willingly served under Jon Snow because he demonstrates his willingness to stand up for them and leads with integrity. Whether Jon takes the Iron Throne or not, his ability to mobilize people is undeniable.
  2. Leaders inspire other leaders and breed loyalty
    In addition to Arya’s epic moment during episode three, her willingness to fight to the end lit a fire under the Hound. When he was paralyzed with fear, seeing her continue to push inspired him to rejoin the fight. The Hound’s crisis of confidence (mixed with a little PTSD about fire) almost took a very needed warrior out of the struggle. People work harder for good leaders who demonstrate the behavior that is desired.
  3. Leaders cultivate other leaders
    The #WinterfellWarriors had an advantage over the Night King and his army of White Walkers and wights. Leadership in the Night King’s operation is centralized at the top. He and the White Walkers are the thinkers. The wights rise, fight, and fall based on what he instructs them to do. They have one or two thinkers.
    Winterfell however, had a common goal but multiple leaders working to achieve it. They were able to think independently and mobilize their teams as the situation changed. They were agile and able to collaborate to achieve a big goal. Successful organizations encourage thought leadership at all levels and encourage responsibility for overall success.
  4. Leaders identify gaps and help to increase team capacity
    Melisandre or the Red Women is a mystery to me. I am not sure if she is a good witch or bad witch however, during episode three, she was a leader. Her role was to build the capacity of the warriors. She sensed their needs and provided them with fire for their swords. By the way, being in the first wave of a battle formation is really a bad idea no matter how magical your swords seem. She also reminded the MVP of the night of her power and what she was meant to accomplish. Melisandre was not slaying wights but she kept that team viable and ultimately successful which is an essential part of leadership.