7 Leadership Lessons from Game Of Thrones Season 7

The real world is not Game Of Thrones, a fantasy world with dragons, dragon queens, super heroes and white walkers. But, there are a few key leadership lessons from Game of Thrones that we can learn from.

This post contain spoilers! 


7 Leadership Lessons from Game Of Thrones Season 7

game of thrones leadership lessons

1. Use your strongest talent for your most pressing business challenges

Jon Snow and Jorah Mormont are two of Daenerys’ strongest and loyal supporters. It had to be them to lead the journey to retrieve a white walker. The white walker was critical so that it can be used to get Cersei on board to join forces to fight the white walkers and their zombies.

In this example she used her top talent for her most critical mission.

[bctt tweet=”Like Daenerys – use your strongest talent for your most pressing business challenges #gameofthrones” username=”cherralle_”]


2. Know your people’s strengths and assign them accordingly

When Jon Snow sees that they will be ambushed by a horde of wights (the zombie things that White Walkers created).  Jon Snow quickly turns to Gendry and asks him to be the one to run to the Wall and organise the raven to go to Daenerys asking for urgent help. He protests, but Jon Snow states bluntly that he is the fastest.

If that’s not leadership, then I don’t know what is! The fact that Gendry did make it and the raven was critical in getting them assistance at that crucial point. As a leader, know what your people are good at and make sure they play their position.

3. Groom your replacement

Brienne of Tarth has groomed Podrick Payne over several seasons. To the extent that she trusts him to look after Sansa when she needs to go to Kinds Landing. Big ups to Brienne for investing time in coaching Podrick to become an astute swordsman and protector, if you remember he could not even hold a sword! Are you investing time and energy into grooming replacements?

4. Have advisors around you who can challenge you and help shape your vision

An excellent example is Tyrion (an astute strategic advisor) who consistently provides Daenerys with more than just strategic guidance. He also disagrees with her and is an active participant in shaping the vision of the ‘new world’ they want to create.

5. Go for the hearts and minds of your subjects (employees) and do not use fear to lead

This is the ongoing coaching that Tyrion provides to Daenerys, don’t lead with fear. Yes, it will get you results but not endearing loyalty, people will be waiting for you to die (or leave the department in our world okay). Allow people to buy into the bigger vision and journey; you will get better results and more engaged team members.


6. When building an empire (or company; team) begin as you mean to go on

Tyrion coaches Daenerys to not start with death and destruction to win the war. But to show the people that she is a leader striving for a better world for everyone. If she starts with death and destruction that will be her legacy and she will be no different from others.

7. Inclusion and Diversity is HUGE in Game of Thrones!

We see that the key players in Game of Thrones currently are women. Even though due to their gender, they were not meant to be there. Sansa is Lady of Winterfell, Arya is a badass, Cersei is Queen of Kings Landing! Also,  if you look at the board of advisors which Daenerys has, she has a female, males and all from different back grounds.  In this way she gets a various perspectives as she leads and conquers.

[bctt tweet=”#gameofthrones showing that diversity matters! Women hold key leadership roles in season 7″ username=”cherralle_”]

So although we do not have dragons flying around in our world, we should keep an eye on these lessons!

So… die hard Game of Thrones fans, did I miss anything?

Read More:

13 Tips for your Twenties That Can Boost Your Career

6 Hacks to Transform Your CV in 20 Minutes

First Time Manager? 6 Smart Tips to Go From Rock Star Employee to Manager


13 Tips for Your Twenties That Can Boost Your Career

Your twenties is a period of huge growth, learning and personal development. Here are a few tips to be aware of, but hey you are so smart I am sure you are doing this already!

13 Tips for Your Twenties That Can Boost Your Career

  1. Success does not mean burn out

    Set the tone for how you integrate your work and life from the start.  Drop the mentality of ‘work hard in your twenties’ and then ‘cool down’ when wanting to build a family or drive personal goals later. Rather live a full life now, do it now, do not wait for a magical moment, this is the magical moment. It will be incredibly hard to make that shift later in life. [bctt tweet=”Yes work hard, work incredibly hard, but live.” username=”cherralle_”]

  2. Drives outcomes and results,  not processes

    No matter what field of work you are in, your work will be assessed on an outcome that was achieved and not a process that was followed (and results may or may not be there). Build a reputation around outcomes.

  3. Don’t be fixated on the idea of a particular job title

    Be flexible; jobs change, heck, industries change. Focus on adding value, being relevant and being impactful. Have your next career step mapped out  (this is good) but not ten steps ahead.

  4. Be a problem solver

    If you have the energy to complain about something, have the energy to do something about it. Channel your energies into positive thinking.

  5. Maintain a positive online presence

    A study by Jobvite (a recruiting platform) reflects that 93% of prospective employers will review potential employees’ social media activity. In addition, more than half have reconsidered a candidate’s application based on what was found. Place your facebook and Instagram on private if you are a ‘party’ animal. Have an updated LinkedIn Profile, here are 6 ways to step up your LinkedIn game.  LinkedIn is key because it is an extension of brand.

  6. Update your CV every 6 – 12 months

    A CV is not all about job hunting; it should also capture your key accomplishments as you go along. In order not to forget your key accomplishments update it on an ongoing basis. Here are 6 steps to update your CV in 20 minutes.

  7. Build a network of meaningful relationships

    When building a network, consider how you add value to people in your network, before you think about how to get something out. Networking is not about having people on tap to get favours from. Always lead with what value you can add to a person. ‘Networking is about connecting people, not collecting people’, says Linda Cattalyn.

    [bctt tweet=”Always consider how you add value to your network. It will come back to you as good karma. ” username=”cherralle_”]

  8. Negotiate, Negotiate, Negotiate

    The first offer of anything, almost always has room for improvement. When  reviewing an offer, always negotiate.  I wrote a post about how to go about asking for things at work such as a flexible arrangement, study assistance, etc. If you are adding value to your company, you should be able to  negotiate in these instances.

  9. Have mentors

    Plural is key. Have mentors, each of whom will give you guidance in different aspects of your life and career. I also recommend that if you are a mother, have at least one mentor who is a working mother, just to get this angle covered. Also, don’t get fixated on a mentor, because they also change as you change and evolve.

  10. Have sponsors

    Have mentors, but sponsors are even better. When a particular assignment comes up, this person will advocate for you in your absence and will ensure your accomplishments are known. Herewith further insights on why a sponsor is critical, Why Mentoring Is Overrated And How To Make It Really Count.

  11. Always dress for the job you want

    Always dress up one level higher. Appearance is part of your brand, and you want your brand to say ‘I mean business’. In whichever field you are, always dress for the job you want.

  12. For goodness sake, be wise financially

    Make smart financial choices in your twenties, so that you build financial stability. Why this is important? So that you do not need to make decisions purely driven by money later on as your lifestyle changes. Be wise, don’t go for that over priced apartment or car. You may buy over priced shoes though. I feel in your twenties you need to do buy at least one pair of overpriced shoes.

  13. Progress is better than perfection

    Give up on perfection. I am not saying that you must be okay with mediocre performance, still, pursue excellence. Sometimes by seeking perfection, making sure that everything is ‘just right’ is hindering progress. In some cases 90% is good enough, you need to discern when. Move forward on something and adjust as you go along, it is okay. How many times have you spent hours on a client presentation and only a third was required? How many hours during planning have you dedicated to modelling and estimates too early in a process? Only to find it change. How many hours spent on tweaking and re-tweaking which made no difference to the actual impact of a deliverable? Progress is better than perfection.

[bctt tweet=”Progress now is better than perfection delivered at some future date.” username=”cherralle_”]

Be open to learning, growing and its okay to make mistakes. Any choice you make in your twenties is not written in stone!

Featured Image: Pixabay


How To Get The Feedback You Need To Ace Your Career Goals

Did you know that up to 90% of employees hate their ‘annual performance review’? Are you one of them?
Feedback is a critical element in developing your career.  Consequently, if you are waiting for your annual review to get feedback, this is not sufficient.

Not only are people afraid to ask for feedback, but often people also are not that too excited to give feedback as well.

Here are 6 ways to get the right feedback you need to ace your career goals

1. Don’t ask for general feedback, be specific

Instead of asking someone to ‘give you general feedback,’ link it to an actual outcome or deliverable. Example if you have just delivered a presentation, ask your boss, colleague, how that went. This approach is a non-threatening way to ask for feedback and in this way you may get very specific actionable feedback.

2. Always ask for examples

When you get feedback such as “You need to be more assertive in meetings,” this is not helpful. To get into the detail of your developmental areas and strengths, ask for an example. In this way, you can reflect on your interactions and behaviour and make a concerted effort to either build on what you did well or address what did not go well.

3. Aim to get ‘360’ feedback

Aim to get feedback from other people besides your boss. When you request feedback from others, always ‘put them at ease’ by asking for their input on a particular outcome. Phrase it in a way that puts them at ease so that they can give you meaningful feedback. Example, ask your team member for their feedback on a meeting you just ran. In this way, they are giving feedback on your work and not on you. By directing the feedback on your output, people would feel more at ease to give you the feedback.

4. Make feedback ongoing

If you are waiting for your ‘annual’ review to get feedback, this is a huge mistake. Feedback must be ongoing and real-time to make a real impact. So its June, and you delivered a deliverable in January, and you are only hearing now that it sucked? You missed out on five months’ of growth where you could have implemented the feedback.

[bctt tweet=”Feedback must be ongoing and real time to make a real impact. ” username=”cherralle_”]

5. Own your feedback

You need to make a concerted effort to get the feedback that you need.  The reality is that the onus is on you to drive your feedback, so the first step is with you. [bctt tweet=”The best person to ‘manage your career’ is you, not your manager or mentor.” username=”cherralle_”]

6. Remember to build on your strengths

A growing body of evidence is showing that by focusing on enhancing your strengths you could be more productive and engaged. Reflect on what you really do well, and how you can capitalize on these to enhance your performance at work and in your personal life. Yes you need focus on your development  areas,  so that you reach an acceptable level within them. But guess what, if you also apply effort into building and enhancing your strengths this can make you phenomenal in your career and personal life.

Making the effort to get feedback can have a significant impact on your career if you act upon it. Hence, take the feedback and work through it yourself or with a mentor.

In which ways do you ensure that you get the right feedback? Share this post if it help you today!


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First time manager? 6 Smart Tips to go from good employee to good manager

So, you were doing well as an individual contributor, and due to your contribution, you were promoted to manager. Congratulations! Being responsible for a team is a whole new ball game, compared to when you were accountable for your individual contributions. Your first promotion to manager can be a sticky time in any career. Here are six smart ways to transition from individual contributor to manager.

First things first, you are still part of a team

Now that you are the manager do not get caught up in your own hype. You are still part of a team, and in fact, now you need to be more present and engaged in the team than ever before. Get to know your team members on a personal level, connect with them. Be available, accessible to your team so that you can coach and guide. Remember, it is no longer about how awesome you can be, but how awesome you can make others. It is a good idea to set up regular one on ones.

Feedback is a gift, give it freely

You now have a significant impact on someone’s career growth, this is a big responsibility, and you need to treat it as such. Be measured when you give feedback, but do give it. I have recently come across the Rose, Bud and Thorn method which can be used for performance feedback as well. You share the positives (rose), you share an opportunity for growth where the person can learn and build a new skill  (bud), and you share development areas (thorn).

Don’t doubt yourself – lead with confidence

You are now leading a team of people who were possibly your peers at some stage. It is easy to start questioning your abilities to lead. You are even most likely leading individuals who are older and have more years of experience than you. You were given this position for a reason, and you need to trust in your capabilities.

Be flexible and adaptable

Understand that different people want to be engaged and managed in various ways. Some people need more independence whereas others require more contact time and guidance. You need to figure out that sweet spot with each of your team members that motivate them to give their best.

Set a structure with space for your team

It’s important that individuals in your team understand the goals that everyone is working towards. However, leave enough room in the ‘how’ for people to use their ingenuity. You need to use your discretion here, and also use your knowledge of how people like to work to figure this out.

Help your team become smarter and better than you are

So you were always one of the brightest at work? That is why you got promoted to manager. Now you need to hire people smarter than you, coach and guide people to achieve more than you. That is the journey of being a leader, and leveraging the best of a team. If you have people in your team who are better than you at various things. That is  amazing. Let them shine and give them credit for their work

Do you have any tips that helped you as a new manager?

Related Post: Asking for what you want at work…the right way

Featured Image: istock

Why Mentoring Is Overrated And Why Sponsorship is Better

A mentor has become one of those things that we are all ‘encouraged’ to have if we want to get anywhere in our career. But, do you REALLY need a mentor?


Mentoring is overrated, however there are ways you can leverage this approach if you apply these 4 career strategies.

A board of directors

It is important to have many mentors, and not only rely on one person. In this way, you have access to a wide range of people whom you may seek guidance from. Example, have someone who inspires you across different aspects of your life . You could admire someone for living a healthy lifestyle, how they prioritize family, how they run their business, etc. Mentors can be more senior than you, junior or even peers. It depends on what you want to learn from them.

Would you like to be my mentor?

Let’s be honest, no one wants this pressure, it’s just too much to ask someone to be your ‘ultimate’ role model. I have never approached anyone to be  my mentor, but I have a handful of people who I learn from across different topics.  I have people who inspire me to:  stretch myself at work, integrate home and family,  look after myself, etc. Labelling the relationship is not required. 

Additionally, approaching someone from scratch and asking them makes the relationship seem “forced” and one dimensional. I believe that a mentor and mentee relationship is beneficial if it is built on a foundation of mutual friendship and is mutually beneficial.

Having a sponsor is better

A sponsor is someone with decision-making influence in your organisation. They attend meetings higher up than the ones you attend and this person ‘leans in’ on behalf of you. You may not always know who your sponsors are but they use their social and political clout to support you. When a special assignment comes up, this person will advocate for you in your absence. A reality of the working world is that visibility of your contributions (not the contributions by itself) is what will get you the recognition. A sponsor plays a key role in helping you achieve this visibility. By being a strong performer, adding value to the organisation and others you will acquire sponsors.

Stretch assignments have a big impact on growth

Let’s be honest, do you really need another company leadership programme or another mentor link up? Assignments with increased complexity have a strong impact on career growth, more so than what a mentor can provide. This is especially true for females, where companies invest heavily in implementing leadership programmes. The impact of sponsorship and growth experiences can have a bigger impact on career growth than a leadership programme.

In closing, have many mentors at all levels and ensure that these relationships are built on a foundation of friendship. Very importantly have sponsors, and ask for stretch assignments. Now go be a lady boss!

Related Post: Working Mom Hack: How to ask for what you want at work, the right way

 Featured Image: istock


{Working Mom Hack} Asking For What You Want At Work (the right way)

Knowing how to go about getting what you want at work does not need to be a mystery.  As your company invests more in you, you return the favour by being the awesome employee that you are. It really is a win-win. It all starts with asking. Here are 5 working mom hacks you can apply right away, to get what you want.

What do you have to lose?

Related Post: Bye Bye Mommy Guilt, Why You Should Feel Proud of Being a Working Mother

#1 More training / study support

So, you want to study further but HR advised you that the company only covers a fraction of the fees ‘as per the policy’? Here is what you do. Work with a sponsor (your supervisor or mentor) and draft a one page motivation to request an exception. Your motivation should outline costs and acknowledge the policy (this shows you read it and you are not disregarding it).

Finally, it should include why this programme is good of your career and for the company. The fact that you have applied your mind to your studies in the context of your career will count in your favour.

#2 More flexibility

Importantly, be good at what you do when you are in the office, then  ask for flexibility . You want to be in a position where no one really cares about where you work, as you always deliver.  Suggest a trial period at first and show how it helps your employer (i.e. you will be more productive, not just easy for you).  You will often find a manager being more open to flexile arrangements if its positioned as a trial at first.

[bctt tweet=”If you are requesting more flexibility at work, ensure your work output is impeccable!” username=”cherralle_”]

#3 More maternity leave

Your company will probably have a  set policy in place, but if you want to take more time off you need to negotiate your maternity leave with your manager.. This is quite a challenging one to navigate.

Position the maternity leave request as early as possible (immediately after your completion of your first trimester). The critical factor that will be considered in an extended maternity leave is the backup plan. You will be leaving your colleagues behind to take over your work while you are off having a baby (as important as this is, it’s a pain for those left behind).

Related Post: The Other Side of Maternity Leave: The Coworkers We Leave Behind

Come up with a unique way to cover some of your responsibilities. Example, volunteer to train an Intern, you could groom someone for 6 months and you can set this person up to support the team in some activities.  Whatever the solution is, do not throw your hands up in the air. You need to lean in and work with your manager to work out what your backup plan is. This may help towards getting that extra bit of maternity leave.

#4 More professional memberships

If you want to join a professional community, whether your company has a policy or not, you should request your boss to sponsor it.  This reflects your dedication to your craft. It also helps with you remaining up to date with trends (which is good for business) and allows you to network.

Related Post: The Side of Motherhood That We Do Not Post on Instagram

[bctt tweet=”Studying further and professional memberships reflects your passion for your craft” username=”cherralle_”]

#5 More visibility

If you want to gain more exposure to high value projects, or gain more access to senior leadership – ask. Be good at what you do, and then ask for more. Your manager would be willing to expose you to more opportunities, if you have shown your credibility in other tasks.

In closing, an employer will invest in employees who have demonstrated their commitment to the company through their performance. As a valued employee, you can and must enhance your position in the company by asking for what you want. Spend time with your manager, mentor or HR to understand what is available but also be encouraged to lean in and ask for what you want. 

What do you have to lose?

What do you think, do you have any tips for asking what you want at work?