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7 Things Game of Thrones Taught Me About Leadership

7 Things Game of Thrones Taught Me About Leadership

HBO’s Game of Thrones, a television show based on George R.R. Martin’s acclaimed novels entitled A Song of Ice and Fire, has become a cultural phenomenon. Although originally intended for adults, even young ones just can’t help to watch this show. Game of Thrones has obtained a range of active international fan base worldwide and has received popular recognition from various critics. Game of Thrones is not just a thrilling story. Yes, it has epic fight scenes, thought-provoking dialogues, intriguing characters with complicated and complex personalities, and compelling plot, but it is more than that. The show runs deeper than your typical fantasy escapism. It is arguably one of the wittiest and most distinct shows in television, which can make its audience wonder of what’s going on at all. The Game of Thrones universe is full of life lessons. This show encompass a lot of betrayals, deceits, and ruling power, but it will also teach you more about life, relationships, and, of course leadership. This series will show you how to rule a kingdom or, in our reality, how to become an effective leader. Here are a few valuable leadership lessons from the best and the worst leaders of Westeros.

1.  Trust with Caution

Be careful in choosing who you trust. In Game of Thrones, the audience is deliberately told not to trust anyone or risk getting killed. Though you may not risk being murdered, this is a good reminder to trust with caution. Do not give too much information to people you barely know, especially when it comes to managing or leading a company. However, trust is one of the keys to organizational and better performance. No one can lead a team without trusting anybody. So, as a leader, identify whom you should trust and how you can gain the trust of others in order to reach your goals.

“I swear to you, sitting in a throne is a thousand times harder than winning one.” – Robert Baratheon

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robert

    2.  Lead by Example

    Ned Stark is known for being an honorable and just man in Game of Thrones. His character is one good example of being an effective leader. He always means what he says and does what he means. Ned puts his swords to his words and doesn’t stay out of duty, no matter how unpleasant it could be. A true leader is someone who can be a role model in all aspects. You must be accountable and must embody the values you want others to follow. Remember, they are watching you so you should exemplify the best. Take responsibility and inspire greatness to those you lead.

    “The man who passes the sentence should swing the sword.”- Eddard “Ned” Stark

    ned-stark-quote

      3. Discover Your Strength

      Tyrion Lannister might be small in stature, but he is known for being good at ruling behind the scenes. His fascinating ability to see everything in a different perspective is what makes him one of the best characters in the show. Though he had been humiliated throughout his life, he makes up for it in his wit and intelligence. Tyrion is driven by nothing other than his strengths and will to survive his own reality. As a leader, Tyrion should inspire you to discover your strengths and use them to achieve your goals. By understanding your strengths, you can focus on what you are good at and you can further develop your skills to become more effective in leading people.

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      “Never forget what you are, for surely the world will not. Make it your strength. Then it can never be your weakness. Armor yourself in it, and it will never be used to hurt you.”- Tyrion Lannister

      tyrion

        4. Stand Firm in Your Convictions

        The manipulative, brilliant strategist and stoic commander, Tywin Lannister, urges you to stand firm in your convictions. He is known for his unfettered and dominant attitude to ensure that the Lannister legacy lives on. He rules based on what he thinks is right and never allow anyone to deter his decisions. More often than not, leaders are either making decisions with other people or their decision impacts others. Being a leader you are bound to make decisions for the good of all and not only for yourself. Learn how to stand firm in your convictions. Do not let the personal choices of others make you doubt on your own.

        “The lion doesn’t concern himself with the opinion of a sheep.”- Tywin Lannister

        tywin-lannister

           5. Know Your Worth

          Daenerys, the mother of dragons, knows exactly what she deserves and what she dreamed of. Despite the struggles she has overcome, Daenerys never underestimated herself. She has no training in commanding an army, but she gained confidence and strength to lead the Dothraki people after realizing her worth. As a leader you have to practice believing in yourself so others will trust you. Never underestimate the things that you can and cannot do as you lead people. Show what you can do and become better at it. Just like Daenerys, know how extraordinary you are and don’t undervalue your worth. You are a leader so stand with conviction and act like one.

          “I’m no ordinary woman. My dreams come true.” – Daenerys Targaryen

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          daenerys

            6. Take Command

            In the fourth season of Game of Thrones, Jon Snow has proven his leadership skill. Snow is wise, compassionate, and a natural leader. Using his natural leadership, he led the Night’s Watch in battle against the wildlings and successfully holds the Wall against overwhelming odds. Taking command is having the authority to direct people into strategic position. As a leader know how to guide others into action and not coerce them. Engage and energize the workforce through motivating them and earning their trust. Once you trust your people you can establish command by supporting behaviors that bring good results.

            “I’m the watcher on The Wall.” – Jon Snow

            Jon

              7. Increase Your Knowledge

              Petyr Baelish comes from humble origin, but because of his skills and knowledge on how to connect with people, he became one of the most powerful officials in the Seven Kingdoms. Knowledge is important in becoming a leader. Knowledge brings respect. If you are knowledgeable in leading people, it is easier for you to earn respect and trust from others.

              “Knowledge is power”- Petyr “Littlefinger” Baelish

              Baelish

                Featured photo credit: Chess Metaphor Board Business Concepts Game Pawn/PublicDomainPictures via pixabay.com

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                Last Updated on March 25, 2020

                How Do You Change a Habit (According to Psychology)

                How Do You Change a Habit (According to Psychology)

                Habits are hard to kill, and rightly so. They are a part and parcel of your personality traits and mold your character.

                However, habits are not always something over-the-top and quirky enough to get noticed. Think of subtle habits like tapping fingers when you are nervous and humming songs while you drive. These are nothing but ingrained habits that you may not realize easily.

                Just take a few minutes and think of something specific that you do all the time. You will notice how it has become a habit for you without any explicit realization. Everything you do on a daily basis starting with your morning routine, lunch preferences to exercise routines are all habits.

                Habits mostly form from life experiences and certain observed behaviors, not all of them are healthy. Habitual smoking can be dangerous to your health. Similarly, a habit could also make you lose out on enjoying something to its best – like how some people just cannot stop swaying their bodies when delivering a speech.

                Thus, there could be a few habits that you would want to change about yourself. But changing habits is not as easy as it seems.

                In this article, you will learn why it isn’t easy to build new habits, and how to change habits.

                What Makes It Hard To Change A Habit?

                To want to change a particular habit means to change something very fundamental about your behavior.[1] Hence, it’s necessary to understand how habits actually form and why they are so difficult to actually get out of.

                The Biology

                Habits form in a place what we call the subconscious mind in our brain.[2]

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                Our brains have two modes of operation. The first one is an automatic pilot kind of system that is fast and works on reflexes often. It is what we call the subconscious part. This is the part that is associated with everything that comes naturally to you.

                The second mode is the conscious mode where every action and decision is well thought out and follows a controlled way of thinking.

                A fine example to distinguish both would be to consider yourself learning to drive or play an instrument. For the first time you try learning, you think before every movement you make. But once you have got the hang of it, you might drive without applying much thought into it.

                Both systems work together in our brains at all times. When a habit is formed, it moves from the conscious part to the subconscious making it difficult to control.

                So, the key idea in deconstructing a habit is to go from the subconscious to the conscious.

                Another thing you have to understand about habits is that they can be conscious or hidden.

                Conscious habits are those that require active input from your side. For instance, if you stop setting your alarm in the morning, you will stop waking up at the same time.

                Hidden habits, on the other hand, are habits that we do without realizing. These make up the majority of our habits and we wouldn’t even know them until someone pointed them out. So the first difficulty in breaking these habits is to actually identify them. As they are internalized, they need a lot of attention to detail for self-identification. That’s not all.

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                Habits can be physical, social, and mental, energy-based and even be particular to productivity. Understanding them is necessary to know why they are difficult to break and what can be done about them.

                The Psychology

                Habits get engraved into our memories depending on the way we think, feel and act over a particular period of time. The procedural part of memory deals with habit formation and studies have observed that various types of conditioning of behavior could affect your habit formations.

                Classical conditioning or pavlovian conditioning is when you start associating a memory with reality.[3] A dog that associates ringing bell to food will start salivating. The same external stimuli such as the sound of church bells can make a person want to pray.

                Operant conditioning is when experience and the feelings associated with it form a habit.[4] By encouraging or discouraging an act, individuals could either make it a habit or stop doing it.

                Observational learning is another way habits could take form. A child may start walking the same way their parent does.

                What Can You Do To Change a Habit?

                Sure, habits are hard to control but it is not impossible. With a few tips and hard-driven dedication, you can surely get over your nasty habits.

                Here are some ways that make use of psychological findings to help you:

                1. Identify Your Habits

                As mentioned earlier, habits can be quite subtle and hidden from your view. You have to bring your subconscious habits to an aware state of mind. You could do it by self-observation or by asking your friends or family to point out the habit for your sake.

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                2. Find out the Impact of Your Habit

                Every habit produces an effect – either physical or mental. Find out what exactly it is doing to you. Does it help you relieve stress or does it give you some pain relief?

                It could be anything simple. Sometimes biting your nails could be calming your nerves. Understanding the effect of a habit is necessary to control it.

                3. Apply Logic

                You don’t need to be force-fed with wisdom and advice to know what an unhealthy habit could do to you.

                Late-night binge-watching just before an important presentation is not going to help you. Take a moment and apply your own wisdom and logic to control your seemingly nastily habits.

                4. Choose an Alternative

                As I said, every habit induces some feeling. So, it could be quite difficult to get over it unless you find something else that can replace it. It can be a simple non-harming new habit that you can cultivate to get over a bad habit.

                Say you have the habit of banging your head hard when you are angry. That’s going to be bad for you. Instead, the next time you are angry, just take a deep breath and count to 10. Or maybe start imagining yourself on a luxury yacht. Just think of something that will work for you.

                5. Remove Triggers

                Get rid of items and situations that can trigger your bad habit.

                Stay away from smoke breaks if you are trying to quit it. Remove all those candy bars from the fridge if you want to control your sweet cravings.

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                6. Visualize Change

                Our brains can be trained to forget a habit if we start visualizing the change. Serious visualization is retained and helps as a motivator in breaking the habit loop.

                For instance, to replace your habit of waking up late, visualize yourself waking up early and enjoying the early morning jog every day. By continuing this, you would naturally feel better to wake up early and do your new hobby.

                7. Avoid Negative Talks and Thinking

                Just as how our brain is trained to accept a change in habit, continuous negative talk and thinking could hamper your efforts put into breaking a habit.

                Believe you can get out of it and assert yourself the same.

                Final Thoughts

                Changing habits isn’t easy, so do not expect an overnight change!

                Habits took a long time to form. It could take a while to completely break out of it. You will have to accept that sometimes you may falter in your efforts. Don’t let negativity seep in when it seems hard. Keep going at it slowly and steadily.

                More About Changing Habits

                Featured photo credit: Mel via unsplash.com

                Reference

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