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Five Lessons from Coach Lasso

Updated: Jul 27, 2023

Every seasoned leader, at one time or another, walks into a situation where they are set up for failure with the odds stacked against them. The fictional Coach Ted Lasso is one such leader.


Played by Jason Sudeikis, Ted is the main character in Apple TV’s Emmy award-winning British soccer team series Ted Lasso. This happy-go-lucky, can’t-get-me-down, 24-7 team-player gets hired by a boss who wants to see him fail, works for a team that wants him fired, coaching a sport he is unfamiliar with in a country that sees him as an insult.


As he perseveres through this trial by fire, Ted Lasso demonstrates phenomenal leadership traits. Because so many of these translate to challenges in the workplace, I want to take you back to the pitch (that’s the playing field for British soccer).

 
 

Let’s talk about the lessons that Ted Lasso teaches, so we can win every day when we step into the office. (Spoiler alert: select moments from Season 1 and 2 are alluded to.)


1. Stay positive always. You can’t get Ted Lasso down. No matter what the score is during the game. No matter that every single member of the team rejects him. He brings in a positive outlook and maintains it.

It’s about looking at that email threatening to ruin your day and not letting it get you down. It’s about wearing a smile even when you walk into a meeting full of disgruntled employees. You must stay the course despite each frustrating change in circumstances.


2. Care about each and every team member. Ted doesn’t pick favorites. He doesn’t focus only on star players Jamie Tartt and Roy Kent. He takes time to invest in relationships, even reaching out to the team kit man (equipment manager Nathan Shelley). Ted treats everyone he encounters with respect.


Business leaders have a similar responsibility to not misuse their authority. Sometimes work conflicts arise when someone is promoted or leads a different team. Instead of being servant leaders, people come in and throw their weight around. Not Ted.


3. Believe in miracles. Ted’s unconquerable spirit seems to be rooted in his enthusiasm for living and connecting with others. He’s passionate, encouraging, and believes in miracles. He begins his tenure as a Premiere League soccer coach by putting a yellow sign that says “believe” above his office door.


Does your work life need a miracle? Leadership can be so demanding, and if you don’t know what your “why” is, then life can become gray and confusing. Tapping back into your passions, why you started in your role and what your dreams are can help get your gusto back.


4. Good humor works best. One of the things that makes everyone start liking Ted is his good humor and joviality. He is funny without doing harm. He conveys respect, while also making people laugh, which builds a sense of camaraderie.


Is there a place for humor in your workplace? Are employees free to laugh at themselves? Do employees have fun while still showing respect for one another? Nurturing a work environment where people can breathe, be their best and laugh will benefit you and your team.


5. Don't put the game before the dame. Coach Beard, Coach Lasso’s right hand man, has a bad habit of putting winning a chess game over how he treats his opponents (often women he is dating). Lasso chides him for focusing only on winning the chess game. He encourages Coach Beard to give greater consideration to his romantic interest.


How often do we want to argue and prove we are right at the expense of the relationship? Keeping our perspective on building the relationship is often more important than winning and being right.

 

These are five of the many lessons to be learned from Ted Lasso. Please post your comments or additional lessons you've learned from the TV series. In the meantime, stay positive. Care about everyone. Believe in miracles. Laugh and build relationships. That's the way to play with gusto to create a winning season.







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