Ser Allister Thorne on leadership

My wife and I caught up with the 4th season of ‘A Game of Thrones’ over the past few days as it is finally available on the iTunes store. This would normally lead to a few rants about HBO’s antiquated approach to content distribution online. But, not today.

In one of the (many) war scenes in the season, Ser Allister Thorne says this to Jon Snow –

“Do you know what leadership means, Lord Snow? It means that the person in charge gets second guessed by every clever little twat with a mouth. But if he starts second guessing himself, that’s the end. For him, for the clever little twats, for everyone.”

As much as I despise Thorne’s character, I thought this observation on leadership was particularly insightful.

I’ve observed this over and over again. The idea “often mistaken, but never in doubt” is regularly used in jest. But, it is one of those characteristics that I find to be essential in leadership. No matter what you do, you’re always going to be second guessed. Yes, sure, an ability to listen to reason and change course matters. But, if you’ve just set sail, the right course is almost never clear. More often than not, conviction and self-belief matter more.

And, I’m not just talking about leading teams. This applies just as well to just leading ourselves..