What Can These Game of Thrones Leaders Teach You About Training Management?

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Everyone loves Game of Thrones, except the people who love the books and can’t believe what they did to Stannis. But did you know that this hit TV show contains many lessons about team management? Let’s take a look.

How to Increase Employee Productivity – Lessons from Daenerys Targaryen

Productive employees and a productive team can be the difference between reclaiming your kingdom and winding up dead in the Dothraki Sea. When Khal Drogo dies, poisoned by Mirri Maz Duur, Daenerys is left in a difficult situation. Wandering through the Red Wastes of Essos, Daenery’s team is starving and exhausted. Fortunately, through strong leadership, the Mother of Dragons is able to keep her team motivated and focused, even in the deceptive city of Qarth. By taking the time to learn about the specific cultures of her team members, like the Lhazareen translator Missandei, and the questionably loyal turncoats of Mereen, Daenerys is able to maintain a relatively stable kingdom on the eastern shore of Slaver’s Bay. Everyone in her team brings something to the table: Barristan Selmy is an able military commander. The Shavepate can intimidate the Mereenese slaveowners. Daenerys does a decent job of keeping people on her team focused on the task at hand, to good results.

Race Your Business to Success, Without Needing Jon Snow to Rescue You. 

Why Strategic Knowledge Delivery Makes All the Difference – Lessons from Jon Snow

A key part of training is keeping your employees informed on the company’s goals in a timely fashion. Jon Snow’s record on this is decidedly mixed. Although he has a clear vision for the Night’s Watch, understanding that the organization purpose is not to fight the Wildlings, and that the real war is between life and death, he is less able to effectively articulate this vision to the members of the Watch, and as a result, his organization is argumentative and disloyal. Had Jon Snow utilized effective Strategic Knowledge Delivery, perhaps Bowen Marsh and the others would have understood that Jon’s controversial actions like letting 3000 Wildings through the Wall and ceding a fair amount of autonomy to the one true king Stannis Baratheon were not just strategically sound, they were necessary. Instead, Jon kept people in the dark as to his motivations, and now he’s bleeding out in the snow. And you don’t come back from that. Right?

Why Early and Continuous Learning is Important – Lessons from Cersei Lannister

Nothing’s more important in employee training than making sure your employees learn useful skills and retain said knowledge after the training sessions are over. Cersei Lannister’s reign as Queen Regent is a series of bad decisions. But perhaps her greatest managerial failure was failing to educate Joffrey “Baratheon” in proper methods of governance. Joffrey should have understood the very real costs of alienating both the smallfolk and the nobility. Instead, Joffrey internalized some very questionable ideas about ruling. Tyrion’s attempt to rectify this by presenting him with a rare copy of “Lives of the Four Kings” was far too little, far too late. Good training starts at a young age.

Why In-Work Performance Support is Indispensable – Lessons from Arya Stark

Arya Stark, on the other hand, has a strong grasp of the value of in-work performance support. As a young girl, she studies with the former First Sword of Braavos, Syrio Forel. He instructs her not just in the principles of swordfighting, but also how to use her senses to greater potential, how to hide, how to move silently, and other useful skills. Whether in Bolton-occupied Harrehal or on the streets of Braavos, Arya continually expands and refines her skill set, surviving through precarious situations. In fact, Arya arguably learn more on-the-job than she did in training.

The Importance of Monitoring Performance – Lessons from Stannis Baratheon

Of course, none of this training matter if your employees fail to utilize it in any real way. It’s important to monitor their performances. When Stannis Baratheon made plans to attack the Lannister seat of power in King’s Landing, it seemed like a sure thing. In the wake of the usurper Renly’s death, he had united the Stormlands under his banner, and his naval force seemed insurmountable. However, Stannis failed to effectively monitor employee performance. Imry Florent, the commander of his ships, led the entirety of his naval force into an apparent trap. And, when faced with a high pressure situation, Stannis’ employees failed to adapt. They could have tried an amphibious land. Instead, the majority of his men went down with their ships into the Blackwater. Had Stannis monitored employee performance more closely, the war of the five kings could have had a different outcome.
Jason is the Lead Author & Editor of TrainingStation Blog. Jason established the Training Station blog to create a source for news and discussion about some of the issues, challenges, news, and ideas relating to training, learning and development.