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Leaders in Cinema: Jon Snow of Game of Thrones

Game of Thrones is just like the workplace but with dragons. The series is a perfect reflection of society and workplaces. The series David Benioff and D.B. Weiss created for HBO takes place in the Seven Kingdoms of Westeros. Various noble houses grapple over who will rule over the all-powerful Iron Throne. The series also features mythical creatures like dragons and the army of the undead. Incorporating these magical creatures in the series represents power and how good leadership can cause or avert the fall of humankind. The show has all sorts of leaders, most fighting for their selfish desires and power. Cersei Lannister, Jaime Lannister, and Joffrey Baratheon are but a few selfish and ruthless leaders in the show. These leaders will stop at nothing to fulfill their selfish desires. Nevertheless, the show also features significant leaders who fight for the greater good of humankind and a better world. Jon Snow is one such leader. Through his excellent leadership techniques, Jon Snow rises from just a bastard son of small House Stark to among the greatest rulers of the Night Watch and the entire Seven Kingdoms. This essay discusses Jon Snow’s leadership techniques.

One of Jon Snow’s Leadership techniques is delegation. Jon Snow showed delegation leadership technique by assigning tasks to people he knew best suited for them. Good leaders understand the importance of delegating work to their colleagues and teammates. Delegation involves assigning appropriate tasks to people based on their skills, expertise, and potential while also providing necessary supervision and support. Effective delegation helps distribute workload, empower team members, and promote growth and development (Khan & Wajidi, 2019). In the series, Jon Snow exemplifies delegation in multiple ways. For instance, Jon Snow delegated the task of preparing Winterfell’s defenses to Brienne of Tarth. Jon Snow had a first encounter with the Night King, and he knew that the incoming war was brutal to win without the help of everybody. Snow understanding the power of delegation and teamwork, demanded that even women be trained for the fight against the Night King. Luckily, Brienne of Tarth witnessed Snow’s declaration of incoming war with the Night King. Knowing her strength and skills, Jon Snow appointed Brienne of Tarth to help prepare for the war. She was a perfect choice since she was highly trained and swore to protect the House Stark. Also, Jon Snow delegated the task of finding the dragon glass essential to fight the White Walkers (Benioff et al., 2011-2019). Being a leader, Snow knew that it was vital that he delegate the work of finding the dragon glass to someone like Samwell Tarly, who had an encounter and interest in such matters. Also, Jon Snow assigned his friend Tormund Giantsbane to convince the rest of the wildings to form alliances with the Night Watch. Jon Snow knew the Wilding resonated more with Tormund. Tormund was suited to the task more than Jon Snow and any other member of the Night Watch. By delegating the task, Jon Snow made his fight against the White Walkers easier and showed respect to the Wildings. By delegating tasks, Jon Snow achieved his goals while empowering his people to perfect their craft.

Another supervisory technique that Jon Snow used was communication. Effective communication is needed for supervisors to convey expectations, give feedback, share info, and maintain open lines of dialogue with their teams (Khan & Wajidi, 2019). Clear communication helps build trust and nurtures a positive work environment. Jon Snow recognized the value of clear and effective communication in his leadership approach. One instance from the series that showcases Jon Snow’s practical communication skills is when he addresses the Wildings in Hardhome. The white walkers were quickly approaching, and winning the fight required an alliance between the two sides of the world. In his speech, Jon Snow made an effort to connect with them on a personal level. He shared his experience with the Night’s Watch and his encounter with the White Walkers (Benioff et al., 2011-2019). Snow also spoke in Wildings’ native language to show that he respected them and their culture. His speech convinced the Wildings army to join the seven kingdoms against the White Walkers. During his talk with his supporters from the Night Watch, Jon Snow also showcased his communication technique. Jon Snow wanted to make sure that his subjects or teammates understood why he had decided to join forces with the Wildings. He was honest and straightforward in his explanation, clarifying that transporting the wildings past the wall was vital to avert their destruction by the White Walkers. Snow put himself in the Night Watch’s shoes and understood why they were against his ideas. He acknowledged it was a difficult decision but insisted it was the right call. His transparency was influential in convincing the Night Watch, many of whom were against the idea.

The third Jon Snow’s supervisory technique was his ability to lead by example. Supervisors who lead by example set a positive tone for their subjects. Modeling the desired behaviors and values enables supervisors to inspire their followers and foster a culture of excellence (Mansaray, 2019). Jon Snow put himself at the forefront of danger and was ready to fight on the front line together with his followers. A specific scenario where Snow showed his ability to lead by example was during the Battle of the Bastards. Snow led the fight against the Bolton army (Benioff et al., 2011-2019). Jon Snow also exemplified leading by example by accepting to take on mundane tasks like cleaning latrines and training novice recruits. His hands-on approach showed his dedication to his mission and willingness to lead by example. He inspired his followers to perform their duties meticulously.

Jon Snow’s delegation and communication supervisory techniques were effective. Through delegation, Jon Snow saved time to attend to other important matters. Delegation enables Jon Snow to focus on critical issues like strategic planning of the war against the Amy of the undead. He delegated Samwell to library matters and found the weapon as he dealt with the planning. The delegation also ensured that he relied on other people more skilled in certain things than him. He also showed appreciation to his people by delegating tasks. Delegating Tormund Giantsbane to Lead-Free Folk Amy strengthened their relationships. His communication was also influential in gathering support from his followers and enemies. Jon Snow kept his followers informed about significant developments. He was able to earn the trust and respect of his followers through communication. Jon Snow’s delegation and communication skills contributed largely to winning against the white walkers.

As much as Jon Snow’s supervisory skills were practical, there were times that they did not work. For example, Jon Snow did not lead by example when he executed Alliser Thone and other officers who plotted against him. Mansaray (2019) clarifies that good leaders should lead by example and show their followers the importance of forgiveness and decision-making. Jon should have consulted his colleague when deciding to hang his rivals. Jon had the authority to take such actions. However, his lousy decision-making made him a bad leader, leading to division among his followers. A scene I would have done differently than Jon Snow was where Snow gave the Night Watch the freedom to choose their Lord Commander. I understand that Jon Snow wanted to encourage freedom and better leadership. Though the decision greatly troubled his leadership, he had to depend on Samwell Tarly to stay in power. As a supervisor, I would have understood that my followers needed guidance in choosing the right leaders. I would have also factored in the biases and stereotypes that some of my followers had before promoting democratic decision-making. Having faced previous betrayals from Night Watch, I could have known that democratic decision-making was a new ruling strategy that needed well planning.

High-stress environment impacts supervisory techniques significantly compared to a low-stressful environment. First, a high-stress environment needs more communication. The situation’s Pressure and urgency may require leaders to be more assertive and direct in their communication. The high-stress environment also necessitates quick and firm decision-making. This is evident in Game of Thrones when Jon Snow decides to unalive Daenerys Targaryen (Benioff et al., 2011-2019). Daenerys was getting uncontrollable in her quest to liberate people, which would lead even to more deaths. Jon Snow had to make a quick and assertive decision in a stressful environment to unalive the mad queen before things got out of hand.

The supervisory trait I primarily relate to is delegation. I like delegating tasks to my followers based on their skills and expertise. Before delegating tasks, I take time to learn the weaknesses and strengths of my followers. I also ensure that I frequently supervise the work of my followers to guarantee that they understand what they are doing and that their actions align with my goals. During the summer, my friends and I went on a holiday in the Bahamas, and they appointed me to plan the entire trip. I delegated tasks like bookings, communication, and photography to different people, making my work easier. I understand that I do not have to do everything as a leader.

Supervisors may fail even when using textbook techniques. For example, supervisors can fail if they lack adaptability. The textbook technique gives a solid foundation for adequate supervision, but they are not one size to fit all-size solutions. Supervisors who firmly follow textbook techniques without considering the exclusive needs of their followers fail to connect with them. In Game of Thrones, Jon Snow did show a lack of adaptability by trusting Cersei Lannister. Snow could have been more adaptable and realized Cersei would not support the fight against the Night King. His lack of adaptability jeopardized the safety of his people. Effective leadership goes beyond following a prescribed set of techniques and needs flexibility and empathy.


Benioff, D., Weiss, D.B., Newman, C., Riddell A., Doelger. F., Caulfield, B., Brutus. J., Huffam. M., Muggoch. D., Strauss. C., Frei. A., Wolkan. A. (Executive Producers). (2011-2019) Game of Thrones [TV series]. HBO Entertainment Television.

Khan, M. R., & Wajidi, A. (2019). Role of leadership and team building in employee motivation at workplace. GMJACS9(1), 11-11.

Mansaray, H. E. (2019). The role of leadership style in organizational change management: a literature review. Journal of Human Resource Management7(1), 18-31.


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