Ted Lasso’s Leadership Lessons
Oct 25, 2021
I wrote this article a while back, mostly for me. Sometimes I write to learn and/or process what I'm thinking on.
Anyway, I recently did a BodCast with a friend where we discussed the Apple TV show, Ted Lasso, a great deal. Given that conversation, it seemed fitting to share this article here. These are the lessons I have learned from Ted Lasso (season 1)...
Ted Lasso, the amazing Apple TV series, has to be my all-time favorite show. I cannot remember being so captivated and inspired by any series in my entire TV-watching life. And believe me, I’ve watched a great deal of TV. There is something so magical, so refreshing, about this show. You cannot watch it without wanting to be a better person. It seems odd to say, but Ted Lasso is one of my favorite new Superheroes. I say this because when I grow up, I want to be like Ted. To live life as Ted lives it, that’s a life that makes the world brighter.
I believe that’s why we are here, to shine, to make the world brighter. Somehow, this brilliantly silly fictional character, Ted Lasso, points the way through his leadership style. In fact, last night I had a conversation with my wife about leadership - what it is and what it isn’t. Ted Lasso was the heart of that conversation. This morning when I woke, I couldn’t get Ted’s leadership lessons out of my head. I had to write them down. So here they are, the leadership lessons I have learned from Ted Lasso:
- A leader is a servant. Put people first. Ted sees people, their eyes, their hearts. He listens to them, he elevates them. His only agenda is to lift them up so they can become the best possible version of themselves. He doesn’t focus on the stats of the company. He focuses on his staff, his players, his superiors. He connects with their hearts. As a result, the entire company thrives.
- You can’t control other people. You only write your script, you only influence everyone else’s. You can’t change the way someone acts, what they believe, or how they think. But you can respect them by realizing they are the star of their stage.
- Believe in people. Don’t believe that people exist, but believe in the people you work with. To believe really means to be-love, to love. See the best, love in, the people around you.
- Practice Forgiveness. This is the only way to truly love and invest in others. It’s the only way to invest in your own potential as well. Forgiveness is giving love. Giving love is also receiving love. It’s freeing people from whatever you hold against them. It’s freeing yourself from whatever you are holding.
- It’s OK to hurt. There is no shame in being hurt, in being wounded, in falling, in failing. It’s OK. Forgive the hurt. Forgive yourself. Heal.
- It’s OK to heal. There is no guilt in moving on. Let that go. Healing is healthy. Moving on is growth.
- Celebrate the wins, build from the losses. Eye contact, smiles, birthdays, weddings, anniversaries, promotions, goals - celebrate them all. Tears, divorce, death, retirements, disappointments - acknowledge them and build hearts through them.
- Honor the “least of these.” Everyone matters. No role is unneeded. No heart is unworthy. All are important. In the show, Nate the Great is the best example of this.
- Pass the ball. We win together. Your success is our success. Our success is your success.
- Bake cookies for others. Acts of kindness, done in love, will melt the hardest of hearts and even heal your own.
- Love your critics. Listen to them, respect them, love them. It turns them into fans.
- Take NOTHING personal. They don’t know what they’re doing. You don’t either. Let it go.
- Choose happiness even when it doesn’t make sense. Smile through any trial to any face. It changes everything, especially if you mean it.
- Be vulnerable. Be authentic. No defenses. No illusions. It makes you invisible.
- Ask questions. Questions remove assumptions and reveal solutions. They also reveal interest.
- Be Curious. Why do people do what they do and say what they say? Why do you? Curiosity leads to discovery. Certainty leads to lost opportunities and dead ends.
- Dance like no one is watching, even when they are. Put yourself out there. One of the greatest expressions of joy and freedom is to dance. It removes all the tethers. If you dance, if you shine, you will light up those around you and they will follow your lead.
I’m sure I’ve missed some of Ted’s lessons, but this is a great start. You would do your heart a favor by watching this show. But even if you don’t, if you are able to grab hold of some of Ted’s leadership lessons, you’ll likely set the world on fire, in a good way.
After all, that’s why you are here.