Customer Experience, Key Performing Indicators, Leadership, People, Processes, Team Taylor, Teamwork
Lessons from Ted Lasso | Being a Better Leader
There are people we meet during our lifetime that will transform us forever coaches to professors, family members, authors, coworkers, the list goes on. They encourage us to become a better version of ourselves.
Wildly enough, I recently met one of those people while watching Ted Lasso on AppleTV+. If you haven’t seen this remarkable show, you are probably very confused about how a television show could contribute to one of those impactful people but hear me out. Disclaimer: I do my absolute best to resist watching any sports-related show and, moreover, a sports comedy. BUT If you’ve seen it, then you know its brilliance.
A Little Background
The comedy catalogs the journey of a warm-hearted American football coach, Ted Lasso (played by Jason Sudeikis), who is hired to coach a soccer team in the English Premier League. He knows nothing about the sport, league, or culture, but he knows about coaching players, who he sees as people first. “To me, success is not about the wins and losses,” Coach Lasso says. “It’s about helping these young fellas be the best versions of themselves, on and off the field.” Ted Lasso is a brilliant demonstration of the subtle and straightforward storytelling that offers space to explore the deeper emotions driving much of our decision-making in our personal and professional lives. Here’s the Lasso way:
Treat people with respect – No matter their position within the company/ team, from water boy to chairmen; everyone deserves same respect; every person brings value.
Be a goldfish – According to Ted, a goldfish has a 15-second memory. He wants his players to make mistakes and move on. Obviously, we should all learn from our mistakes, but there is no purpose in lying awake at night replaying how something you did could have been different. Be a goshdarn goldfish.
Be understanding – Communicating with his players allows Ted to understand them and what they are experiencing. Whether it is a player’s first time away from home or a veteran dealing with losing a step or two, having that perspective allows us to empathize.
Good ideas can come from anywhere – Whether asking for advice on roster moves or dealing with his personal relationship issues, Ted has the ability and willingness to engage others on topics and issues where they have no agency over. Having no ego allows Ted to solicit and accept support from all levels of the organization. He always does what is best for the team and not necessarily himself.
Allow the members of the team to shine – Ted allows members of his staff to shine. He gives them credit and highlights their achievements which provides motivation and incentive to everyone in the organization and allows them to achieve the impossible.
Be a mentor – Ted had an excellent quote for his captain, “You know how they say youth is wasted on the young, I say don’t let the wisdom of age be wasted on you.” He was encouraging him to be a mentor for one of the junior players and share his experiences. We can all learn from each other.
Obstacles can be opportunities – Take difficult situations and make them learning experiences so it is not so bad the next time around.
Teammates don’t need to be best friends to be great – Ted uses examples such as Shaq & Kobe, Lennon & McCartney, Woody & Buzz. Players need to have mutual respect to be great at what they do.
Be curious –”Those who think they’ve got it all figured out judge others.” The ability to check your ego and be inquisitive at the risk of exposing your weaknesses is not only a sign of vulnerability, but it’s also a superpower that is underutilized in the leadership ranks. Ted is continually on the prowl for new ideas from everyone within the organization and those in the community.
Believe! – From the beginning of Ted’s time in Richmond, it was clear that this was his motto. Ted mounted a “Believe” sign in the locker room. It is at the core of who Ted is.
So, there you have it. Ted Lasso is by all means not a perfect coach, not by a long shot. He’s in over his head coaching in a league and sport that he doesn’t understand in a different country. His “constant positivity” and adherence to his philosophies allow him to impact his new team and club, from the players and staff to the owner and larger Richmond community. Take a page from the Coach Ted Lasso playbook and implement these principles into your style and within your organization and life outside of work.
I’m not sure what my plans are this weekend, but I may just re-watch a few “Ted Lasso” episodes to get ready for the week ahead.