5 Business Lessons We Can Learn From "Game Of Thrones"

Courtesy of HBO

Daenerys Targaryen

Courtesy of HBO

Alex Wilson
Alex Wilson
May 23, 2024 at 9:42PM UTC
You may not be the Mother of Dragons, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t have the confidence of one when you’re at work.  Daenerys Targaryen, one of the breakout characters from HBO’s “Game of Thrones,” is best known for her quest to conquer the Seven Kingdoms in the shows. However, if you look at it from a different perspective, she’s also an incredible entrepreneur who turned a few dragon eggs into a major empire.
Whether you’re a fan of the show or not, we can all learn something from one of television’s best female role models. Here are some key business lessons that the Queen of the Andals and the First Men, Khaleesi of the Great Grass Sea and leader of many other names can teach working women.
(As a precaution, this article will reference moments in “Game of Thrones” through the end of season seven. If you want to avoid spoilers, you’ll want to bookmark this article for later!)

1. Surround yourself with positive influences.

In season one, Daenerys was consistently put down and manipulated by her power-hungry older brother. She wasn’t given the freedom to make her own choices, and when she made suggestions or asked questions, Daenerys was told that she wouldn’t understand the intricacies of the business she was trying to enter (a.k.a. being a queen).
How did she get out of her bad situation? By surrounding herself with positive influences. She spent less time with the people that made her insecure in her own power and created a support system of advisors, confidants and allies. Now, several television seasons later, that support has propelled her to further success.

2. Learn from everywhere.

When Daenerys was told she would become Khaleesi, she could have rejected the opportunity. Instead, she actively made the effort to learn from and immerse herself it. This earned her the respect of her subjects, who have since followed her across the Narrow Sea to help her achieve her goals.
Daenerys’ experience remind us of the importance of diversity. When you open yourself up to new experiences and to working with people of different backgrounds (like Khaleesi did when she elected to work with Olenna Tyrell, the “Queen of Thorns”), you open yourself to more opportunities. The more opportunities you’re presented with, the more chances you have to better yourself as a professional and as a person.

3. Know your self-worth.

Daenerys knows that she’s meant to be queen of Westeros, and she makes sure that everyone else knows it too.  Whenever she’s confronted with an individual who does not believe in her legitimacy, she emphasizes her self-worth and ensures that those she is speaking with are aware of it as well.  As she constructs her kingdom at Dragonstone, the self-proclaimed Breaker of Chains makes sure she is treated exactly the way that she deserves.
As a professional, it’s important to advocate for yourself — especially when you don’t think you’re being treated the way you should be. Don’t hesitate to speak up for yourself, whether that means making sure a work dispute is handled correctly or asking your boss for a raise. It can be difficult, but the more you advocate for yourself the easier it becomes.

4. Recognize what’s a priority.

When Jon Snow convinces Daenerys to join his fight against the Night King, she does so because she understands that it’s more important to work together to ensure the existence of the Seven Kingdoms than to continue squabbling over who gets to rule it.  Though she’s putting her biggest goal on the backburner, she’s not giving up on it. Rather, she’s prioritizing her tasks in a way that helps her in the long run.
Knowing how to prioritize is an underrated skill in the workplace. Managing a long to-do list full of micro and macro-level goals is tough, but being able to put all those items side-by-side and know which to tackle first will help you manage yourself and your team responsibly.  It also helps strengthen your work-life balance, which is important to protect your mental and physical health.

5. Don’t give up.

The Daenerys Targaryen we see in the first “Game of Thrones” episode is drastically different than the one we see in season seven. She’s learned a lot, met new allies and enemies and made many mistakes along the way.  And yet, despite all this, she has never given up. 
Professionals across all industries will tell you that grit and perseverance are more important to success than natural talent. Though she will no doubt continue to encounter many obstacles along her journey, her dedication to her cause is what makes her the most likely victor in the war that she has entered.

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