It may seem odd to find lessons in leadership from a TV show, but I contend that the leadership (and life) lessons drawn from Ted Lasso are far more inspirational than any book I’ve read in the past few years. If you haven’t watched Ted Lasso, it’s time to subscribe to Apple TV and catch up. The heartwarming comedy follows Ted Lasso, a small-town college football coach who is hired to coach an English soccer team. With no experience or expertise in soccer, he joins the team with nothing but optimism and a belief that he will bring something positive to the team. But Ted Lasso brings so much more than sheer optimism and a good attitude to the table.
Spoiler alert: Here are a few Ted Lasso quotes that exemplify great leadership.
Progress over Perfection
“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 Ted Lasso accepted the job as coach of an English Soccer team, he knew he would have little to offer in terms of technical skills or strategy. His specialty is building a team. He helps individual players learn that the whole is greater than the sum of the parts. He helps each individual explore their strengths and become more aware of how they contribute to the group. Ted Lasso doesn’t need to be the smartest person in the room. He knows success comes from helping each person bring their personal best to the table each day. Building great people is the goal. Success will follow.
“You could fill two internets with what I don’t know about football.”
Ted Lasso knows no other way than to be his authentic self. He stands out from the crowd and never tries to be someone he isn’t. He brings his whole self to the job, and that includes humility.
“You know what the happiest animal on earth is? It’s a goldfish. You know why? It’s got a 10-second memory. Be a goldfish.”
When a player experiences a setback, Ted Lasso helps him shake off the upset with his iconic Goldfish quote. Mistakes can usher in crippling feelings of self-doubt. Ted knows the fastest way for a player to bounce-back is by helping them let go of their disappointment/frustration and get right back to work.
Encouraging a Positive Mindset
“I believe in hope. I believe in believe.”
Ted Lasso is a fountain of hope. He sees nothing but potential in every day. But beyond just thinking positively, he spreads positivity around like confetti and helps others find something to believe in. More than anything else, he helps each person believe that anything is possible. His positive mindset and enthusiasm are contagious.
“Be curious, not judgmental.”
In one epic lesson, Ted shares the danger of making assumptions about people. Never underestimate someone. Instead, ask questions. Learn about what makes each person special. And you can only learn about people if you listen more than you speak. Ted is a great listener. Each person who meets with him knows they have his full attention. He connects with them personally and works to understand what matters most to them.
When all else fails, it never hurts to bring biscuits to your boss each morning.