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What Game of Thrones Teaches Us About Relationship Building at Work

HBO’s Game of Thrones is a popular television series based on the acclaimed series of fantasy novels by George Martin, A Song of Ice and Fire. The show has become a cultural phenomenon, attracting record viewing figures. Over the years since it first aired, Game of Thrones has gained popularity internationally too. GOT, as it is known, has received positive and negative criticism, but the show’s fans love it for its fantastic love scenes, war scenes, complex personalities, amazing characters, thought-provoking themes and compelling plot.

Despite being from the fantasy genre, Game of Thrones is a series about actual life, something that has allowed it to attract a much larger following than a fantasy series would usually expect to see. It offers various life lessons that we can take away and apply to all sorts of situations, with relevance to everything from family life and friendship to the business world and commercial finance. The series draws a lot on themes such as betrayal, power, deceit, and leadership. It also offers critical life lessons about relationships and leadership. The series dives deep into how an empire should be ruled.

Games of Thrones has much to teach its audience about how to handle themselves and build relationships in business. These are our top five lessons about building relationships at work that we’ve picked up from GOT:

Be cautious when building a team – trust is everything.

At the peak of the each season, Game of Thrones slowly throws each of its characters into a secluded conundrum while disintegrating the realities of Westeros at every step. The scenes gradually become more intense with trust issues plaguing the judgment of leaders.  Game of Thrones constantly teaches people to be careful with who they choose to trust.

In one scene, the fans are deliberately told that trust is expensive and if it is given to the wrong, dishonest individuals, characters will end up dying. Even though these scenes are pretty dramatic and often disturbing, Game of Thrones teaches its audience not to share too much personal information, even with those they are closest to.

In leadership, GOT reiterates the virtue of honesty whilst being a business professional manning a company, one should not trust employees too much or offer invaluable data that may compromise the operations of the company. Trust is however, one of the main elements of a successful business. Leaders should identify who to trust. The Tyrells have successfully disguised their evil deeds with charitable giving. Margery commits herself to distribute toys to the less income earning families in the King’s Landing.

Look beyond the face value of every situation.

Do not take every action or word at face value. In business, for instance, it’s invaluable to look beyond the first impression. Being a leader, one should understand that there’s always so much more to a situation than might immediately meet the eye. In GOT, delve beyond the gruesome violence and dramatic scenes and discover the heart-wrenching issues. Take a deep plunge into some of the external factors affecting a company. A leader should look beyond what is being presented and uncover the truth of a situation. Understanding every situation from others’ point of view will enable you to have valuable insights and come up with clever solutions to problems.

It’s always all about family even in business.

In Game of Thrones, everything goes back to the family. The Starks care about each other. The Lannister’s are famous for protecting each other. In life, your friends will come and go. But family is for the long haul. In business and at work, the same applies. If you can build your workplace environment into a ‘family’, where individuals have loyalty to one another, people look out for each other, and a sense of belonging exists, you have a unit stronger than just the sum of its individual parts.

Understand your weaker points – determine the weakest links.

In the third season, Cersei pays her father a visit. She asks him if the family is trying all avenues to find Jamie Lannister, the brother. She also arrives in the capital to present her father’s case in matters of trust as well as confidence. Tywin admits that he doesn’t distrust her because she is a woman but only because she is not as prudent as she may think. A prudent king can differentiate between what he knows and what he does not. In this case, Cersei has trust issues, and she can’t bring herself to trust anyone. She, therefore, cannot delegate her duties and roles. In a small meeting attended by elders of the council, she is displeased by the direction the meeting is going in.

In business, it’s important to understand one’s weakness, especially when building a team. It is important for you to understand yourself and your own weaknesses, and to delegate and ask for help when you recognise that you need it.

Be careful who you surround yourself with.

In Episode Five of Season One, Ned Stark is visited by Varys. The meeting takes place at the Tower of the Hand. The agenda of the meeting is to address Robert Baratheon’s foolishness and precarious situation. Jon Arryn is destined for the same fate. The council holds a small meeting.

The meeting gives rise to a discussion regarding the assassination of Daenerys Targaryen. But Starks is adamant about it. She insists that it’s not honorable. In life and business, it’s important to know who is good for your team, and who is not. When building a team, you should get to know each member’s character in order to carefully surround yourself with only those who are going to see your vision as you do, and are supportive of it.

In conclusion, Game of Throne might be a drama and it might be fantasy, but it teaches us some invaluable lessons for life and business.

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