If you ask someone whether they’ve watched Ted Lasso or if they liked it, you’ll likely get different answers. But one thing that’s for sure is that the show emphasized the fact that you don’t have to be a subject matter expert to be a leader. Here are just eight of the many leadership lessons we can learn from Ted Lasso.
Find Others Who Complement Your Skills & Weaknesses
One of the key relationships in the show is that between Coach Lasso and Coach Beard. The two met during their college years when both played on their college (American) football team. Few leaders can “have it all” when it comes to the skills needed to be a good leader. This means finding others who can lead with you, that complement your weaknesses, is critical. In Ted Lasso, Coach Lasso is engaging and amiable with a solid ability to develop others. Meanwhile, Coach Beard is quiet, thoughtful, and fully invested in understanding every aspect of the sport (which Ted did not). Together, they make a coaching combo that checks all the boxes!
Lead With Kindness, Empathy & Compassion
These three things can really bring professional success to an organization as well as personal success for each member of your team. And it’s important not to lose sight of these even when you’re under pressure or facing losses. In fact, that’s when they matter most! Kindness, empathy, and compassion will get you through the hard times.
Be Confident but also Trust Those Around You
This one ties into the last lesson. Be confident in your skills (and your weaknesses), and be confident in the team you have around you. You picked them for a reason, so trust in them.
Be a Goldfish
In one episode, Ted asks a player “you know who the happiest animal in the world is? A goldfish. Why? It’s got a 10-second memory. Be a goldfish.” This direct quote by Coach Lasso reminds us that we are not defined by our mistakes but rather by how we react to our mistakes. Learn from them, adjust, then forget them.
Great Ideas Come from Everyone
Ted sees value in everyone. He knows he doesn’t need to be an expert and that the best way to lead is to lead in conjunction with those around him. This includes (of course) Coach Beard as well as Ted’s “kit man” (equipment manager) Nathan, among many others. Not only does Ted do this as a soccer coach but he does it as the “coach” of himself when he realizes he needs help handling his own depression, anxiety, and panic attacks.
Know Names & Use Them
Early in the pilot episode, Coach Lasso introduces himself to his limo driver with “My name’s Ted. What’s yours?” and then uses the limo drivers name (Ollie) twice during the short drive. Other examples include Coach Lasso using the first names of press members during interviews and also when interacting with fans in public. Knowing the names of others and addressing them by their names shows the utmost level of respect. This makes it a very effective way to build trust and improve working relationships.
Stick Together, Especially in the Tough Times
In season one, episode 10, Ted tells the team, “I promise you, there is something worse out there than being sad. And that is being alone and being said. Ain’t no one in this room alone.” If you’re facing tough times, you’re likely not the only one. But, if you are, it feels a lot better to have someone with you as you face them. Great leaders make sure nobody on their team ever feels alone.
Don’t Take Things Personally
During the show, Ted never pretends to be the subject matter expert when it comes to soccer. In fact, he owns up to not knowing much about soccer both publicly and often. However, it was for just that reason that he was judged negatively by the press, public, and fans frequently during the entire show. Despite that scrutiny, Ted kept going. Although he knew he was the topic of the criticism, he also knew he wasn’t the source. Instead of responding to negativity with more negativity Ted stayed true to himself, let it roll off his back, and kept going. Eventually, this is exactly what led him to the success nobody else saw coming.
Ted has a lot of teaching moments as a leader and a lot of quotes that help teach. But he’s also got some great quotes overall. Here’s a few to laugh along with because another big lesson he can teach us is that humor can do a lot for a leader.
Ted Lasso Quotes
- “I feel like we fell out of the lucky tree and hit every branch on the way down, ended up in a pool of cash and Sour Patch Kids.”
- “If that’s a joke, I love it. If not, can’t wait to unpack that with you later.”
- “I always thought tea was going to taste like hot brown water. And do you know what? I was right.”
- “As the man once said, the harder you work, the luckier you get.”
- “It’s kind of like back in the ’80s when ‘bad’ meant ‘good.'”
- “I believe in Communism. Rom-communism, that is. If Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan can go through some heartfelt struggles and still end up happy, then so can we.”
- “Little tip for y’all. Fries are called chips. Chips are called crisps. And bangers aren’t great songs, but they do make you feel like dancing because they’re so darn tasty.”