June 13, 2024

Leading Like Ted Lasso

In a world where kindness, compassion, and positivity are increasingly valued in leadership, the hit television series Ted Lasso has captured viewers’ hearts and inspired a new approach to management. The show’s protagonist, Ted Lasso, is an American football coach who finds himself leading a British soccer team despite his lack of experience in the specific sports area. Despite the odds, Lasso’s unique coaching style—marked by empathy, emotional intelligence, effective communication, humility, and encouragement—proves to be a game-changer.

If Ted were in the corporate world, we could easily say he is a typical coach-like leader. A coach-like leader is someone who prioritizes the growth and development of their team members, creating an environment that encourages learning, collaboration, and innovation. Instead of dictating solutions or micromanaging, coach-like leaders empower employees to solve problems, set goals, and make decisions independently. This style of leadership emphasizes active listening, asking insightful questions, and providing guidance, when necessary, rather than solely focusing on immediate task completion. Research has shown that coach-like leadership is effective because it fosters employee engagement, increases job satisfaction, and improves overall performance.

This inspired us to explore the key traits of Ted Lasso’s coaching style and how adopting these characteristics can transform leaders in the corporate world, fostering a more inclusive, supportive, and high-performing environment.

Empathy and Compassion

One of Ted Lasso’s most endearing qualities is his genuine empathy and compassion for others. He demonstrates a deep understanding of people’s emotions, which allows him to connect with them on a personal level. A prime example from the show is when Lasso comforts and supports Rebecca, the team owner, during her emotional divorce proceedings, despite knowing that she initially hired him to sabotage the team. By actively listening and showing care, leaders who adopt this trait can create an environment where employees feel valued and supported, ultimately boosting morale and productivity.

Emotional Intelligence

Ted Lasso’s high emotional intelligence sets him apart as a coach. He’s able to recognize and manage his own emotions, as well as those of his team members. A notable example from the show is when Lasso deals with Roy Kent, the team’s grizzled veteran, who is initially resistant to change. Lasso remains patient and understanding, addressing Roy’s emotions and ultimately winning his respect and cooperation. By developing this skill, leaders can effectively navigate challenging situations and make better decisions while also helping employees manage their emotions and resolve conflicts in a healthy manner.

Effective Communication

Effective communication is a cornerstone of Ted Lasso’s coaching style. He’s able to convey his thoughts clearly, while also actively listening and ensuring he understands the needs and concerns of his team. A standout example from the show occurs when Lasso communicates with the team during a critical halftime talk. Instead of relying on technical jargon, he uses a story about a goldfish’s short memory to inspire the team to focus on the present moment and forget past mistakes. By mastering this skill, leaders can create an environment of transparency, trust, and collaboration, allowing for a more efficient and harmonious workplace.

Humility and Adaptability

Despite being out of his depth in the world of soccer, Ted Lasso never hesitates to admit when he’s wrong or ask for help. His humility and adaptability allow him to learn from his mistakes and adjust his approach as needed. A memorable example from the show is when Lasso, after struggling to understand the offside rule, seeks advice from Coach Beard and other team members to improve his knowledge of soccer tactics. By admitting his lack of expertise and being open to learning, Lasso gains the respect of his team. Leaders who embrace these traits can foster a culture of continuous learning, growth, and innovation within their organizations.

Encouragement and Positive Reinforcement

Ted Lasso is a firm believer in the power of encouragement and positive reinforcement. He consistently cheers on his team members, offering praise and recognition for their efforts. One heartwarming example from the show is when Lasso encourages Nate to share his tactical suggestions with the entire team. Ted’s support not only helps improve the team’s performance but also boosts Nate’s confidence and enables him to grow into a more prominent role. By adopting this approach, leaders can boost employee motivation, self-confidence, and commitment, ultimately contributing to a more successful and high-performing organization.

“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,” says Ted Lasso. And we couldn’t agree more.  

Ted Lasso may be a fictional character, but his unique and impactful Coach-Like Leader style is truly inspiring for real-life corporate leadership. By equipping leaders with the coaching mindset and tools, you too can support your people and organization to thrive like never before. Contact us so we can start building your “Coach-Like Leader” program together!