What project managers can learn from the hit series Game of Thrones

Tuesday, April 22nd, 2014 By Jack Nevison

HBO's flagship program, Game of Thrones, is always a hot topic of office conversation on Monday mornings. But just what lessons can project managers take away from the fantasy series? As it happens, the large cast perfectly exemplifies a number of leadership styles, and the advantages and pitfalls of different project management strategies.

Just like in Westeros, an office has its own rivalries, alliances and power struggles. A project manager's worth is measured by how challenges are handled, the same as the knights and lords of the Seven Kingdoms. Consider your own workplace. Is it led by a Ned Stark, a stern but fair leader who is always conscious of the people he rules? Or perhaps you report to a Tywin Lannister—cold, intelligent, and concerned only with the end results?

The Tywin Lannisters of the business world, exemplified by Steve Jobs and Jack Welch, among others, rule through fear and cunning. They also inspire fierce loyalty in their followers, and act quickly to deter any threats to their people. This strategy might be effective in uniting a project team behind a common goal, but  is a poor long-term option, as it tends to lower employee job satisfaction and create a stressful work environment.

Then there is the style of Daenerys Targaryen, the Mother of Dragons. Compassionate and approachable, her followers love her and relate to her on a personal level. She is generous to her supporters, but fierce when challenged. She employs a measured approach that instills loyalty and rewards obedience.

What kind of project management style do you admire? New Leaf Project Management offers over 200 hours of training to help you combine the best of many PM methods and techniques. In addition, we provide white papers and online QPM games, which let you learn while you earn affordable PDU credits for PMP recertification.

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