7 leadership lessons you can learn from Game of Thrones’ badass Daenerys Targaryen

By Maryam Dodhy on
August 31, 2017
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Game of Thrones’ action-packed season 7 is over and since the new season doesn’t come until 2019, you can re-watch the series again. But, if you’re a Game of Thrones enthusiast and you’re looking to brush up on your leadership skills, we have for you all the lessons you can learn from Daenerys Targaryen.

Dany, or should I say ‘My Queen’, has had a brilliant character transformation over the last 7 seasons. From being a timid girl sold off to the Dothraki in season one, she has now risen as the Mother of Dragons, the Unburnt, and the Breaker of Chains (can’t go on with the complete title, but you get the idea).

She hasn’t become the leading contender for the Iron Throne overnight. It took her years to reach her home of Dragonstone and gather a devoted army of followers. You might be thinking that this is merely fictional but a person should try to grab a lesson from wherever they can.

1. Always lead, never follow

You need to give credit to Daenerys for making her own way in the world. She took advice, yes, but she never followed the crowd. She made the crowd follow her. She created a vision and over the years gathered people who would blindly follow her to the edge of the world.

This is something that Apple and Samsung have been able to achieve as well. They’ve formed a brand entity for flawless flagship devices. People will gladly buy anything they put out.

2. Know the market inside out

You can’t expect to succeed if you don’t know the market you’re about to step into. When Dany lived in exile, she gathered all the wisdom she could from Ser Barristan Selmy and Ser Jorah Mormont. They taught her her family history, the Westerosi history, all the cruel things he father did, and the psyche of the people she’d be up against if she chose to take back the throne.

If you’re going to be a market leader you need to be great at analyzing and learning from the mistakes of those who came before you.

3. Keep your eye on the goal

From the beginning, Daenerys’ goal has been to go back to Westeros and eventually take over the throne. Ever since she made up her mind, she has been constantly making strategic moves that bring her closer to that goal. She may sound obnoxious at times in her will to take the Iron Throne, but, haters gonna hate.

Know what you want. Set short-term goals that contribute to your bigger goal in life, personally or professionally.

4. Form great connections

Daenerys started off with her hateful brother Viserys with no hope in the world. Right now she has more allies than Cersei, the Queen who currently sits on the Iron Throne. Over the years, she has been able to get the wisdom of Tyrion Lannister, insights from Lord Varys, House Martell, House Tyrell, and now the Great North on her side. That didn’t happen overnight. She persisted and eventually found the right people whose allegiance would help her get the throne.

As a leader, you need to do the same. You need to have connections with market veterans and industry insiders who will help you stay ahead of the curve.

5. Make people love you and fear you

Remember when Daenerys freed all the Unsullied at Slaver’s Bay and they readily joined her side? They love her for freeing them from slavery but they also fear her because once in a while she sets an example by letting her dragons burn traitors.

Always have your employees back. This will let them know that you care. But also maintain the relationship of a superior so that they have a small fear of letting you down. This will help them do their best at work.

6. Take bold risks

Spoiler alert! In this season Daenerys took the very bold step of taking her dragon beyond the wall to save Jon Snow and company. She did this against the advice of her most trusted advisor but she owned her decision. And while this decision cost her the life of her beloved dragon, it did bring her the allegiance of the King in the North.

If you play it safe, you may be able to remain unscathed but you probably wouldn’t be as successful as you could have been if you took daring risks.

7. Turn adversity into opportunity

In season 6 we saw Daenerys get captured by the wild hordes of the Dothraki. They held her captive and probably wanted to kill her. But she made the best of this adverse situation by burning down a hut and emerging unburnt from its ashes. This helped her get the Dothraki behind her back and increase her blind followers.

While you may not have a dragon to help you get out of trouble but you can definitely use your connections and business acumen to turn things around.

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