HR lessons from Game of Thrones

HR lessons from Game of Thrones

The epic fantasy drama has returned to our screens with gusto this year, teaching us all something about family loyalties, old grudges and Machiavellian deceptions.

But does Game of Thrones hold any lessons in leadership for our HR department?

Surround yourself with reliable people:

Littlefinger: “Power resides where men believe it resides”

Death, murder and betrayal are the order of the day in Westeros, with scheming Queens and unscrupulous knights ready to throw you under the bus at a moment’s notice. Employees are the bread and butter of HR, so it’s imperative you keep measure of the general atmosphere in your company.

Andrew Dane, mediation specialist, commented on this issue to HR Grapevine, saying: “HR Departments could benefit by the early implementation of mediation in the Workplace. Often mediation is only implemented when the problem has manifested itself and is more difficult to satisfactorily resolve.”

So, in situations where you feel like you could be losing the support of your staff, don’t be a Ned Stark, find a speedy resolution and keep your head.

It’s the leader’s job to punish and reprimand:

Ned Stark: “The man who passes the sentence should swing the sword.”

We all think that we would make a great fantasy character – that we’d have no issue with slaying our enemies and confronting evil forces. But how can that be true considering many of us shy away from office-based conflict?

It’s HRs job to manage justice – that’s not to say we should suddenly demand a Draconian style punishment the next time a colleague uses our coffee mug without asking –but rather manage situations fairly and without bias, never shying away from confronting the problem at hand.

Nathan Combes, Senior Associate Solicitor at Lupton Fawcett Denison Till, explained: “Failing to appear approachable in regards to work-related issues…can lead to all sorts of problems. A common situation is that employers start to discuss their wage with colleagues, which can lead to individuals who are paid less feeling undervalued and leaving, resulting in a high staff turnover.”

Engage your staff to get the best out of them:

Daenerys Targaryen: “A dragon is not a slave.”

The Mother of Dragons may be only 13 when she first appears in the books, but she already has a grasp on motivation that would shame some experienced professionals. Daenerys know exactly what to say and how to act to ensure she gets the best out of all her followers.

She may start the book with no family, no money and no prospects, but soon she’s amassed a few armies and hundreds of thousands of supporters.

Employee engagement is a topic which is constantly receiving a lot of departmental attention. And though we hear a lot of talk around the issue, how often does that evolve into a feasible HR strategy?

Departments have to work in unison, forming Learning and Development plans that have the potential to make a difference, and inspire the masses. 

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