Ted Lasso's Lessons on Leadership

Get Your Mind Right.
Life is better with a growth mindset! Sign up to get simple habits that will strengthen your mind and change your life.

It’s been a couple of weeks since the Emmys, and I’m going to be honest, I’m still thinking about them.

I’m sure over the past year all of us have picked up a new show (or shows, plural—listen, I’m not here to judge!)  

Hands down, my show of the year has been Ted Lasso.

Here’s where I pause to say, if you haven’t watched the show, I need you to go do it right now.  Really.  There are only a couple of seasons.  It’s okay, I’ll wait...  




Are you back? I know, it’s sooooo good, right?  You’re welcome!

(Sidenote: if you really, really haven’t had time to watch, I totally get it. Just know that this blog post might contain spoilers.  Keep reading at your own risk!)

I might have been just a liiiiiitle overly excited to see my favorite show winning so many awards. And then Jason Sudeikis (who plays Coach Ted Lasso himself) absolutely killed this incredible acceptance speech for Lead Actor in a Comedy Series:

(Or if you’re in a quiet spot, you can also go read the whole thing here.)

This is the bit that really hit me:

"And I want to thank my teammates. … Look, I’m only as good as you guys make me look. So really, it means the world to me to be up here and just be a mirror of what you guys give to me and then we reflect back and forth on each other. So thank you so much."

I absolutely love that he called out his teammates, his work family.  

For better or worse, we spend a huge chunk of our lives at work.

Seeing your coworkers, your team, as a family is important because it frames the way you think about your relationships with them. You’ll be able to approach them with empathy, treat them with respect, and see them as individuals who are so much more than their job titles.

Investing in those connections means creating a support system full of people who understand you in ways no one else can because they are right there in the trenches with you every day.

That’s actually one of the things I love most about the show.  If you haven’t seen it, here’s the lightning-fast rundown:

Ted Lasso is an American football coach who gets hired to coach a British soccer team, AFC Richmond.  He knows nothing (like, seriously, NOTHING) about soccer.  What he does understand, though, is how to build a team.  And he does it by reminding them that they are a family.

To me, that’s the heart of leadership.  Leadership is not about directing other people or about being in charge.  

It’s about modeling and encouraging empathy.  

It’s about forming honest connections.

It’s about creating an environment where your team feels valued and safe.

And you don’t have to be the coach or the boss or even be in a management role to be that kind of leader in your team.

So in the spirit of Ted’s version of leadership, this week I’m bringing you…

Ted Lasso’s Leadership Lessons

1) Know your team.

After taking over the job as head coach of Richmond, Ted turns up in the team owner’s office the next morning with a box of biscuits (or as we Americans call them, cookies!).  But this isn’t just a way to butter up his boss, Rebecca.  

He uses it as an opening to get to know who she is—beyond her job. In fact, he tells her that he’s going to start doing it every morning, and they can call the meeting “Biscuits with the Boss.”

When Rebecca isn’t having it, he tells her,

“We can’t really be partners unless we get to know each other.”

Successful teams don’t just work well together.  They see each other beyond their job titles.  Getting to know your team helps you remember that they are humans who have lives, commitments, passions, and aspirations outside of work.

When we really get to know the people on our team, we can’t help but see them as their whole selves.  And when each of our teammates knows that they’re really seen, it makes the entire team stronger!

2) Be in it together.

After one of their toughest losses, Ted pulls the whole team together in the locker room. Not just the players and coaches, but Rebecca and the team manager and the kit managers—everyone who is part of his work family.

They’re exhausted, dejected, and disappointed.  But here’s what Ted tells them:

“I want you to be grateful that you’re going through this sad moment with all these other folks. Because I promise you, there is something worse out there than being sad, and that is being alone and being sad.  Ain’t nobody in this room alone.”

No matter how much we love our jobs, there will always be ups and downs in our careers and in our work lives. When those tough moments hit, they’re an opportunity to focus on gratitude.

Rather than getting weighed down by frustration and disappointment, we can look up and be thankful for the fact that we don’t have to go through those highs and lows alone. We have a work family who is there to see it through with us.

Leadership means reminding ourselves to celebrate with our team but also to lift them up and bring them together when the road gets rough.

3) Remember what it’s really about.

Like most professional coaches, Ted spends his days doing press briefings, answering questions from reporters about his team and his coaching choices.  One of the more… umm… blunt reporters, Trent Crimm, asks to shadow Ted for the day for an article.

At one point Trent lays his cards on the table and tells Ted that he should quit—it’s not fair to the team or their fans to make them suffer through the embarrassment of a losing season.

His response is one of my absolute favorite lines from the show:

“For me, success is not about the wins and losses.  It’s about helping these young fellas be the best versions of themselves, on and off the field.”

When leaders see their team members as family, they remember that leadership isn’t about monitoring job performance or enforcing standards. It’s about supporting your teammates in reaching their goals.  

When they know they have the support of their teammates…  

When they know in their core that they work with a team who is invested in their wellbeing…  Well, that’s when they have the space to blossom. And that’s when they can bring their best, not just to work, but to the rest of the world.

<iframe src="https://giphy.com/embed/Gp1aV5R9DzaEbd52XQ" width="480" height="270" frameBorder="0" class="giphy-embed" allowFullScreen></iframe><p><a href="https://giphy.com/gifs/AppleTV-apple-tv-app-Gp1aV5R9DzaEbd52XQ">via GIPHY</a></p>

That’s the ripple effect of being a 100% Human leader.

How can you take some pages out of Ted’s play book? (See what I did there???)  

If you’re ready to take a deeper dive into this topic, join over 93,000 other leaders (whaaaaaaaaat?! yesssssssss!) and register for my LinkedIn course, Leading with a Growth Mindset.  

Hiya! I'm Karen.

Thanks for stopping by my blog.

My main goal is to give you the mental skills you need to experience less stress and more joy.

Your life is a direct reflection of your thoughts. If you want uplifting content that will help you master your mind join the community. We'd love to have you!

If not, no hard feelings. Feel free to stop by whenever you need a pick-me-up! I'll be here.

Either way-see you soon!