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Five Lessons for Leaders from “Ted Lasso”

The highly acclaimed Apple TV+ series “Ted Lasso” aired its finale in May, finishing third in Neilson’s streaming rankings for that week. The series continues to appeal to a variety of audiences, thanks to the lead character’s unwavering kindness, genuine care for his team, and commitment to creating a supportive environment for all. In this article, OMNI Senior Consultant Jon Binder shares five valuable leadership traits modeled by Ted Lasso that could serve as an inspiration to real-world leaders.

My wife and I began watching Ted Lasso together two years ago, expecting nothing more than pure entertainment. But within the first 15 minutes of episode one, I was hooked. Not only did the show make me laugh out loud — a rarity for me — but it resonated with me on a much deeper level. I’ve always found sports-related metaphors to be particularly apt in my work as an HR consultant. But Ted’s unwavering kindness, genuine care for his team, and commitment to fostering a collaborative and supportive environment serve as a compelling model for effective leadership and team dynamics and are an inspiration to real-world leaders.

It’s true that some of the behaviors and practices modeled by Ted Lasso for comedic effect would not work in a real-life professional setting. But when I thought about overall themes that can help OMNI’s clients cultivate positive employee experiences that will promote business success, I realized that “Ted Lasso” offers some key lessons for leaders:

  1. Positive Leadership Style Ted Lasso leads by example, demonstrating a strong work ethic, determination, and a “never give up” attitude that spurs the team on, even during the most challenging times. Remember that iconic “Believe” sign? Leaders can learn that their actions and behavior set the tone for their teams, inspiring and motivating employees.
  2. Empathy and Emotional Intelligence: Ted’s unwavering positivity and empathy towards his team members and colleagues demonstrate the power of fostering a supportive and inclusive work environment. The show dealt with several sensitive social issues, with Ted modeling kindness, understanding, and acceptance throughout – and ultimately building a stronger team.
  3. Vulnerability: Ted helps some of the crustiest characters on his team to be comfortable being vulnerable. The environment he creates ultimately lifts him up during his tough times and allows him to be vulnerable with the team about his struggles, thus creating a stronger team.
  4. Problem-Solving Skills: Ted’s creative and often unconventional problem-solving skills encourage leaders to think outside the box and approach challenges with innovation and resourcefulness.
  5. Team Collaboration and Trust: Prior to Ted’s arrival on the scene, AFC Richmond was simply a collection of individuals, each pursuing their own goals. He works to build a united and cohesive team, by effectively delegating important tasks and modeling caring and respectful behavior. Ultimately, this takes on a life of its own. When Ted departs at the end of the show, the team has taken on full ownership of this culture.

Despite some of the over-the-top plotlines and leadership portrayals, Ted Lasso’s character embodies foundational qualities that can inspire leaders everywhere, helping them to build strong, cohesive teams whose members feel valued and fully engaged in something greater than themselves, ultimately building a stronger organization.

OMNI specializes in leadership and organizational development. If you would like a free consultation on how we can help your organization exemplify some – or all – of Ted Lasso’s lessons on leadership, please click here.

Jon Binder, Senior Consultant and Compensation Practice Leader at OMNI Human Resource Management, has over 25 years of human resources experience, including more than 15 years of compensation design and consulting experience. Jon assists clients of all sizes, both for-profit and nonprofit, in furthering their mission goals through the development of compensation strategies and processes. He also provided expert support in employee relations, leadership development, and related areas. Prior to joining OMNI, Jon enjoyed a successful career in finance and as a human resources executive with Sprint.

Jennifer Gross-Statler, Marketing & Communications Manager, comes to us with over 20 years’ experience as a nonprofit professional. Her background includes four years as Executive Director of a Connecticut nonprofit with a state mandate to evaluate state-funded mental health programs, assess strengths and unmet needs, and make recommendations for improvements. She brings valuable expertise to OMNI in community and media relations, marketing and branding, project management, and strategic planning. Jennifer is a graduate of The College of William & Mary.

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