Beth Nilssen
July 17, 2017 / Great Advice

My Game of Thrones Leadership Style

As I write this, I can barely breathe in anticipation of the premiere of the next season of “Game of Thrones.” (If you don’t know about my deep interest in GoT, read this post and this one.)

Yes, I’m a big fan of the show—all in the name of professional development, of course, because of the distinct lessons you can take from the storylines and apply them in the business world, especially about leadership styles. So imagine my delight when I heard about the Wall Street Journal’s “Game of Thrones” character quiz.

UPDATE: The show premiered this past Sunday and, without revealing any spoilers, all I can say is my argument that “Game of Thrones” should be part of every business leader’s professional development is 100% on target! I predict this season’s shows will continue to focus on the theme of leadership, and the internal conflict about making decisions that assure success vs. decisions that are morally sound. (Exhibit A from the season premiere: the scene where Jon Snow is explaining to his loyalists what lies ahead as “Winter is coming.” Watch the facial expressions of those who aren’t in complete agreement. Amazing!) For a future blog, I plan to reach out to a few Great Clips executives to get their take on how they approach tough decisions. Okay, back to the quiz…

Did I take the quiz? Of course I did! And then I waited for my results. So who am I? Drum roll, please:

“You are Jaime Lannister.” Wait, what?

“You are arrogant and aloof, and you possess a cutting wit. While you prefer to focus on your own contributions rather than lead, you step up with the situation calls for it and have your own unique code of honor that sometimes deprives you of companywide respect and praise.”

Really? Yikes. Is my self-perception so warped that I have no idea that this is how I come across? (Because, as we all know, these online quizzes are so accurate, right?) I immediately reached out to friends and colleagues, sharing the quiz results with them, hoping they would oblige me with their shock at the connection to Jaime Lannister. They didn’t disappoint.

“Don’t know whether to laugh or cringe at this description, Beth!” wrote one friend who is also a GoT fan.

Maybe she was just trying to be nice, but she went on to say, “Actually, Jaime is one of my favorite characters because of how he’s changed through the seasons—starting off as a despicable, unworthy person to seeing him move into new stages where he’s showing empathy and valor. What do you think?”

“Well…I’m pretty sure that aloof and arrogant are words that almost no one would use to describe me,” I wrote back.

I also agreed with her that Jaime is one of my favorite characters because of his character development. I wrote, “At first you cannot stand him, and then you see the growth happening—and suddenly, he seems like a real person struggling with real issues.”

So, what does this all mean? Maybe that I’m evolving in my leadership style. That I’m an increasingly empathetic colleague who isn’t afraid to commiserate and support people as they struggle with the everyday issues. That I show courage in times of weakness. That I’m capable of learning from my mistakes.

Yeah, let’s go with that. Or, I may just need to take the test again.

Which Game of Thrones character are you most like? Take the quiz, and then share your results below. Come on, go ahead and do it! Hey, your results couldn’t be worse than mine! (Well, I guess that’s not completely true.) And then, if you’d like to know more about what it’s like to be a Great Clips franchisee (nothing close to any of the storylines on Game of Thrones, I promise!), send me a note or give me a call. I’d love to talk with you.

**Photo from

Beth Nilssen By Beth Nilssen on July 17, 2017
Up Next: Industry News

Standing in the Hall of Fame

Read Now

Get in touch

We'd love to learn more about your goals and answer your questions about becoming a Great Clips franchisee. Please fill out our contact form, and someone will get back to you as soon as possible. Chatting with us is completely confidential.