11 Lessons from Ted Lasso that Will Make You a Better Leader

INSPIRE

According to Ted Lasso’s Twitter bio, he is:

Father. Coach of @AFCRichmond. I have a real tricky time hearing folks that don’t believe in themselves!

And I would add:

Inspiring Leader.

While, like many others, I was immediately drawn into Season 1 with Ted’s quick-witted charm and hilarious one-liners (not to mention the other characters I quickly fell in love with), it was his leadership characteristics that really hooked me.

Ted Lasso goes from college football coach from Kansas City to soccer club head coach of A.F.C. Richmond in London. How he leans into his core values as he’s taking on his new adventure has me inspired in all kinds of ways.

It’s inspired me enough to rewatch, curate, and now share these take-aways that are leadership gold.

LEAD

Lesson 1: Get comfortable being uncomfortable.

Ted Lasso knows that nothing great happens within the comfort zone and he wastes no time sharing this lesson. Not only has he never coached soccer, he doesn’t even know the basic soccer lingo. While he shares the struggles that come along with doing something new, he never loses sight of how important it is for leaders to embrace change.

Lesson 2: Take your job seriously but never yourself.

No one would question Ted Lasso’s work ethic or his dedication to being the best. As a coach, he puts in the hours, works on ensuring his team has quality facilities that reflect core values and meet the players’ needs, and he is always willing to go the extra mile.

He also takes his wins and losses in stride. He’s careful to not take even harshest criticism personally and even during the high points, he keeps his focus on next steps.

AND he realizes the importance of having fun together. Creating moments of joy and laughter break down walls and build relationships. As he quips, “You know whatcha do with tough cookies? You dip ‘em in milk.”

Lesson 3: Be a goldfish.

After Sam, an AFC player, makes a mistake on the pitch, Lasso calls him over for a talk.

Lasso says, “You know what the happiest animal on earth is? It’s a goldfish. You know why? It’s got a 10 second memory. Be a goldfish, Sam.”

The ability to not focus on the past in order to be the best you can be in the present is an important life and leadership lesson.

Lesson 4: Be curious, not judgmental.

Episode 8 brings us this enthralling game of darts with an important bet on the line. Ted reminds us that being judgmental is a force of mediocrity. Instead, great leaders approach situations and others with curiosity.

Lesson 5: Vulnerability is a superpower.

Part of Ted Lasso’s charm is is willingness to be vulnerable. It’s also a leadership superpower.

Ted forgives first, seeks out feedback even when hurtful to hear, sacrifices in service of others, and shows us that selflessness paves the path to deep connection and chasing greatness together.

Lesson 6: People first.

Relationships are at the core of great leadership and Ted Lasso never passes on an opportunity to invest in people. He is constantly reaching out to spend time with others in order to get to know them better.

During his famous “Biscuits with the Boss” morning drop-ins, he brings Rebecca, the club’s owner, homemade shortbread cookies. He uses this time to get to know her better, knowing this is going to help everyone, including the team.

Lesson 7: Leaders are dealers of hope.

Ted comes at a common saying of, “It’s the hope that kills you,” head on. Reminding his team (and probably himself) that it is actually the lack of hope that kills you, he leads as a dealer of hope.

Lasso embodies the famous Stockdale Paradox by facing the brutal facts AND having unwavering faith that they can and will prevail in the end.

Lesson 8: Leaders create more leaders.

Great leaders create more leaders by taking down the hierarchies that stifle success and nurturing shared leadership.

Lasso wastes no time in tearing down the traditional systems by seeking out the greatness in the team’s “kit man,” Nate. Initially, Nate is impressed that Ted even wants to know his name. Low bar, right? But Ted doesn’t stop there. He continues to learn from Nate’s deep knowledge of soccer and his insightful thoughts of the team’s dynamics. In turn, Lasso pours into Nate’s confidence and leadership skills, eventually promoting him to a member of the coaching staff.

Leadership is not a zero sum game. Sharing power and leadership creates more power and leadership.

Lesson 9: Winning is a mindset.

With an atypical approach to success, Ted is repeatedly forced to explain that his take on winning is not whether the team wins or loses. Lasso’s definition of success takes a longer, “infinite game” approach. Winning in leadership is about helping others become the best version of themselves. Bam.

Lesson 10: “WE” is greater than me.

The power of a great team is in understanding that we move forward on our path to greatness together. Through the hills and the valleys, being connected, united by a common purpose, is full of beautiful simplicity and endless potential.

Lesson 11: Believe in believe.

From the moment he hung the now iconic yellow and blue poster in the locker room to when he made this inspiring statement in the season finale, I felt Ted’s declaration, “I believe in believe,” to my core.

Without belief, there is no leadership. Caring deeply about each individual in your organization while seeing the greatness you and they have to share is what leadership is about.

AMPLIFY

Suffice it to say that Ted Lasso had me laughing, rooting for AFC Richmond, and inspired to be a better leader. It also has me anxiously awaiting Season 2.

What inspiring leadership lessons resonate with you? Together we are brilliant, so I’d love to connect! Share this post by tweeting and tagging me (@me1odystacy) or feel free to start a conversation by commenting below.

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