Game of Thrones, HBO’s blockbuster fantasy drama is more than just waiting for winter to arrive.
There’s passion. There is political warfare. There is a lot of murder (babies and giants, kings and favorite characters, you name it).

There are many leadership lessons. There is wisdom behind all the brain-splitting, revenge plotting and strange relationships. This is especially true for project managers.
Below are nine key takeaways I have distilled from the series. Warning: There are major spoilers ahead if you don’t have season four completed.
1. Serve others with your heart.
Okay, maybe not literally.
Daenerys Targaryen, the dragon-worshipping Daenerys Targaryen, is a force to reckon with. She is one of the most compassionate characters on the show and uses her compassion to win the affection of thousands. Daenerys wins the respect of her army through optimism, determination and by offering them something: their freedom.
Her resilience and empathy make her supporters more reliable and effective than the surrounding armies. Her team is strong and reliable because of her passion and loyalty. She considers herself queen, and all those around her respect her leadership.
Joffrey Baratheon is the exception to this rule.
Joffrey doesn’t earn his power, he is (wrongfully). born into it. He doesn’t love his subjects. He doesn’t care about his people. He believes people should respect him due to his title. He also believes that fear, and not compassion, will make his subjects follow his lead. This way of thinking led to the end of his relationships and even his death.
What can project managers learn from each other?
Project managers need to invert the pyramid. You are there for your team, not vice versa. Your energy, enthusiasm, and talents can be used to strengthen your team. Communicate with your group members regularly. Learn what they care about and what their strengths are, and then use that information to benefit the project. Your team should be able to trust, collaborate, and feel empathy.
You shouldn’t assume that your team will give 110% just because you are Project Manager. It takes effort to earn it.
2. Give good feedback.
Despite her many difficulties, Cersei is a master at giving feedback.
Although Cersei’s feedback in Game of Thrones is purely malicious and manipulative, it’s still very effective.
She compliments first, then she notes a flaw, and then she works together with the person receiving feedback in order to improve their performance.
Take her approach to Sansa. Cersei asks Sansa to write a letter for her brother Robb Stark. She starts Sansa’s review gently. Cersei doesn’t introduce her goals first but instead focuses on Sansa’s ability to improve. She said, “Sansa sweet, you are innocent in any wrong, that is what we know.” But you are the daughter a traitor. How can you allow me to marry my son?” Cersei uses her force of (feigned?) compassion and gentle feedback to quickly show Sansa she can overcome her father’s dark mark by writing to her family.
Sansa did what was required to please Cersei.
What can project managers learn from each other?
Give feedback to team members by recognizing their strengths. Let them know you value them and that you want them to be part of your team. Then, follow up with the things that need to be fixed and work with them to improve their skills.
In a business setting, you won’t try to manipulate your coworkers into doing unethical things, but you will inspire them to improve their skills. Even though it is a shameful application of Cersei’s method it will work wonders.
3. Make sure that your team shares the same vision.
You may have seen last night’s episode to know that Tywin was killed by Cersei.