How to manage a business – Game of Thrones style


Guest post by Ananya Singh, Legal Analyst at LawPath

1. Authoritative style management – Stannis Baratheon
Autocratic management style involves management engaging in one-way communication. Making decisions for the team without any input or consultation with others. This could be essential in a work environment when input or team agreement isn’t necessary for a successful outcome.
But as we saw in Stannis Baratheon’s case, it can lead to half of your army leaving you and the other half being killed off. It is not the best style to use when you have innovative and expert staff whose input could be of value to your business, like for example, the military knowledge of Ser Davos Seaworth. If Stannis had listened to him, a lot of people may still be alive.
2. Directive (Coercive) style – Ramsay Bolton
The “do it the way I tell you” managerial style. It requires compliance from employees and closely monitoring them. While the style is effective in situations of emergency and crisis, it can be very stiff, inflexible and lead to loss of motivation by employees.
We saw this style used by Ramsay Bolton. His troops followed him (even through his more gruesome hobbies) and did not back down even in the end. Although, instead of using a normal rewards and discipline method, Ramsay is clearly on the extreme end.
3. Affiliative style – Jon Snow
This management style prioritises employees over tasks. The manager places an emphasis on creating and improving good personal relationships, bonding with employees and avoiding conflict.
It is a good style to be used for times of stress and conflict within the business. It also motivates employees by improving their mental health through counselling and help.  It builds trust within the team. However, used by itself, the style can lead to adequate performance by the employees as it lacks clear directing. Neither is it particularly effective in crisis situation.
As we saw, this style made Jon Snow one of the best and most loved leaders of the Wall but it also posed a difficulty when dilemmas with the Wildlings arose.
4. Participative (democratic) style – The Wildlings
This style involves agreement among employees through participation in important decision-making, and involves an open, “what do you think?” style of input. It is effective when the manager needs the employees to agree with a particular idea or decision and can provide useful insightful input from employees. It works when the staff is experienced and the work environment is steady, as opposed to when it is a time of crisis and staff members are inexperienced.
The Wildlings appear to use this style in making decisions in unity and valuing input. However, while the people may be united, it doesn’t always extend to the south of the Wall.
5. Pace setting style – Daenerys Targaryen
This involves the manager setting the example for employees to follow. The managerial team or the manager sets a high standard by demonstrating excellence and self-direction in tasks. It is expected that the employees follow this example.
It is effective when the business already has motivated and skilled employees who are coordinated and self-directed. It produces quick results. This style, however, can overwhelm employees when the work demands assistance or if the employees require experience and coaching.
6. Coaching style – Tyrion Lannister
This management style is “developmental” as it assists employees in developing skills, improving their personal strength and performance for the long-term. It motivates employees by providing them opportunities for professional development. However, it requires the manager to be an expert and cannot work with stubborn and inflexible employees.
Tyrion Lannister is an ideal coaching-style manager. He is a great counselor and can identify the weaknesses of other people.  He connects with his staff on a personal level, such as sharing jokes with Missandei, favouring a relaxed environment for his team. He managed Mareen quite well besides a minor set-back.

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