World Monitor Magazine, Economy WM_April 2019 web version (2) - Page 69

additional content about the wildlings. His commitment to empathy is noticeable in his insistence on recognizing the basic humanity among people who have been ridiculed or feared, including his friend Samwell Tarly and the wildlings in general. Jon’s commitment to his community is the result of always being cast as a bastard son, and thus an outsider in House Stark. He understands the importance of being inclusive. But most of all, he is driven by truth. He has grown up without knowing who his true parents were, and he has repeatedly made sacrifices on behalf of a deeper understanding of the realities around him. As an outsider since childhood, thrust into the role of leader, he understands that truth isn’t just a talking point. The reality of the Night’s Watch — in this case, the existential threat they face and the humanity they share with the wildlings — can’t be spun or adjusted to suit a particular leadership agenda. and the kingdoms it protects — will fall. Further, the dead men of the Night’s Watch could rise themselves as wight soldiers. This type of challenge calls for strategy and persuasion: skills that can’t be taken for granted, no matter what rank a leader may hold. “Leadership does not depend on position,” write scholars Robert E. Quinn and Ryan W. Quinn in their book Lift: The Fundamental State of Leadership. They describe leadership as a social process, often triggered “when people choose to follow someone who deviates from at least one accepted cultural norm or social convention.” In Game of Thrones, when Jon Snow makes his decision, he must persuade his colleagues of the Night’s Watch to join him. His persuasion skills reflect his values: truth, then community, then empathy, then courage. Taken in reverse order: He exemplifies courage every day, both as a warrior and in confronting his Night’s Watch brothers’ attitudes Jon thus uses his authority as the new lord commander to invite all the free folk to cross into Westeros and find new safe homes in the seven kingdoms. In exchange, the wildlings will promise to abandon their nomadic warrior practices of rape, reave, and murder. They will give up any items they own that can be sold for food. They will also allow their children to be placed into Westerosi homes as wards. This is a sort of hostage situation to ensure the wildlings won’t go rogue and start slaughtering their new allies. Some of the wildlings will even join the Night’s Watch and take the oath to protect civilization from the emerging threat to humanity. Jon’s free-folk counterpart, Tormund Giantsbane, agrees to all these harsh demands; he too is a realist. But getting the support of the Night’s Watch members is more difficult. Jon doesn’t believe he has much time to do this. He expects the truth of the situation to be sufficient persuasion in itself. This is where his leadership skills fail him. Bob Bontempo, who leads a session on persuasion in the executive education department of the Columbia Business School, says that persuasion is a discipline that takes time. He uses the analogy of planting a grain of sand in an oyster to create a pearl. The grain of sand is an invitation to consider the possibility of an idea. Intelligent adults aren’t convinced by argument. They are convinced by themselves, when they take time to reflect on a question and make an eventual, considered decision. supported by EUROBAK 67