Please ensure Javascript is enabled for purposes of website accessibility

7th Feb, 2024

Olivia Maguire
Olivia Maguire
Job Title
Content Marketing Lead

*Spoiler alert*

The Traitors is not just a masterpiece in entertainment television, it is also a great source of business insight. With its strategic gameplay and team dynamics, the show captures some essential business lessons, from leadership skills, working under pressure, negotiation skills, strategic thinking, to teamwork and collaboration.

The popular reality show features a group of contestants who engage in a battle of wits in order to win a big cash prize. The drama unfolds within a Scottish castle, with each contestant given a role to play of either ‘traitor’ or ‘faithful’ throughout a series of group challenges designed to test human vulnerabilities – the objective for the faithful being to identify every traitor before they have a chance to ‘murder’ them by deception and treachery, then claiming the prize for themselves.

Here are five foundational themes of The Traitors and how they relate to the world of business:


Leadership skills can be a double-edged sword in the context of The Traitors. It’s a standout skill among both the faithful and the traitors – but they must tread carefully. As a faithful, being too opinionated and failing to consider the points of view of your teammates, will often lead to your downfall and ‘murder’ - a tactic to remove those with the most influence over the group. While as a traitor, being a leader can be essential in gaining the trust of the faithful. Let’s look at two of the main characters in series two, Paul and Harry. Both played the game as traitors exceptionally well but had entirely different leadership styles.

Paul is what many would consider a typical leader – popular, influential, outspoken, who doesn’t shy away from sharing his opinion with the team. Harry on the other hand, went under the radar for much of the series, quietly gaining people’s trust, and became influential without being the most outspoken or loudest with his opinions.

Both leadership styles have their place in the world of work, but when looking at Harry’s success and ultimate win, you can see how his integration with the faithful, being a team player during challenges, and leading from the back, was key to his success.

Harry’s style of leadership led to him being trusted by the faithful until the very end. This is a key lesson for business leaders, in that by being a team player and getting involved in tasks often means you can better gain the trust of your employees.

Working under pressure

Being able to remain calm in high-pressured situations, such as at the roundtable, was critical to the gameplay. While some crumbled (sorry Brian), others were cool, calm, collected, and able to think on their feet.

Those who were better able to stay calm under pressure had more influence over the group, could effectively navigate challenging discussions, and were able to gain people’s trust and allegiance – all critical skills in the world of work.

The ability to work under pressure and to tight deadlines is a very common skill that most employers look for in their employees, but it was interesting to see how that played out in a team dynamic.

Thinking on your feet and making decisions under pressure is essential in an ever-changing world of work. So, when making hiring decisions, assessing candidates in a group dynamic, and seeing how they react under pressure, can be a great way to assess these skills.

The art of negotiation

From negotiating your salary during a job interview, discussing pay rises throughout your career, navigating team dynamics as a manager, to negotiating strategies in the boardroom, the art of negotiation is key at all levels of business.

Importantly, negotiation should involve compromise and the subsequent outcome should be for the benefit of all involved. In any negotiation, patience is a powerful tool. To harness its power, you must curb your urge to convince others and instead, truly engage in hearing their perspectives. Active listening not only reveals the path to a mutually beneficial outcome, but also provides a way to defuse tension.

Another key tactic in successful negotiations is confidence. To gain the trust of others, you need to be confident in your opinions and input. This can come from practising having tough discussions as well as arming yourself with knowledge to back up your opinions.

Both skills are evident throughout many of the roundtables in The Traitors, and often, those who fared well practised active listening, knew when to input their opinion and when not to (Jaz), as well as provided evidence and knowledge to back up their opinions.

Strategic thinking

Being able to think strategically is probably the most important skill on The Traitors, both as a faithful and a traitor, but how can we relate this to business?

Strategic thinking becomes more important the higher up the career ladder you go, and at director level, it is critical. The ability to foresee results and plan appropriately is a vital skill reflected in the game dynamics. Harry’s strategic decision to obtain a shield and use it as a cover to recruit another traitor, and his ability to see multiple steps ahead and plan for each eventuality, was an incredible move. Leaders should always consider different possible outcomes of their decisions and think ahead.

Jaz’s decision not to disclose his suspicions of Harry was also a great move that led him to the final, and leaders can take a valuable lesson from this – sometimes it’s better to remain quiet and see how things play out. Strategic thinking doesn’t always require immediate action.

Teamwork and collaboration

And finally, teamwork and collaboration are deeply embedded throughout the show. Both in the missions and in the faithful coming together to identify and banish the traitors.

When given the opportunity to increase the prize pot, both the faithful and the traitors had to put their differences aside and collaborate in challenges in order to succeed. This is important in the business world, because when individuals with different perspectives and experiences collaborate, they bring a diversity of thought to the table. And while differences can sometimes lead to conflict, when handled correctly, conflicts can be a catalyst for team growth. They provide an opportunity to develop better communication and conflict resolution skills.

Ultimately, when team members put their differences aside to work towards a common goal, it builds mutual respect and cooperation, which boosts employee morale and job satisfaction.

In conclusion

The Traitors is more than just a gripping television show. It offers valuable insights into the world of business that can be applied in real-life scenarios. The five key themes – leadership, working under pressure, the art of negotiation, strategic thinking, and teamwork and collaboration - are not just themes that run through the show, but are fundamental principles that can guide one’s business journey.

As you navigate the complex landscape of modern business, remember these lessons from The Traitors and use them to inform your strategies, decisions, and actions. After all, in the world of business, as in the show, it’s not just about surviving, but thriving amid challenges.

If you are looking for a talented, faithful employee to join your team, get in touch with one of our specialist consultants today.