Three Powerful Leadership Lessons from Ted Lasso You Need to Know

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ted lasso

A couple of months ago, my wife and I reluctantly started watching Ted Lasso. Last week, we started watching it all over again!

Ted Lasso is a football coach who becomes a soccer coach. I won’t say more; please watch the show.

I genuinely love everything about this show, especially Ted’s character. His energy, thoughtfulness, leadership style, team building, flaws, vulnerabilities, love for his son and family, and ability to forgive and see beyond mistakes… His glorious mustache!! 😂

I was so impressed by Ted’s philosophy that I decided to apply three of his most memorable lessons to my own life.

Oklahoma

Oklahoma was a word Ted used in couple’s therapy with his wife. If one of them invoked it, it obligated the other to tell “God’s honest truth.”

One day, I was having a conversation with my stepdaughter, and I sensed that she wanted to tell me something important but didn’t know how to start. I told her the Oklahoma story. I couldn’t remember the exact word, so we picked the word Cupcake for some reason 😁. 

Since then, we have been able to open up to each other and connect at a deeper level, solely because we motivate each other to tell God’s honest truth, which tells the other I honestly want to listen to what you have to say, no small talk.

Be a goldfish

Ted Lasso teaches his players to be like goldfish when they lose a game because they have a short memory. Whether true or not, the main lesson is to move on from mistakes or things you can’t control instead of lingering on them.

This concept or behavior sounds highly trivial, but it might be trickier when dealing with kids.

One morning, I found my 8-year-old daughter crying because she forgot her school textbooks and couldn’t finish her homework, which meant she lost screen time. We planned a fun day, and I wanted her to enjoy it, so I told her Ted’s goldfish story. Just like that, she was able to let go of her frustration.

Since then, I’ve heard her using the same strategy with her twin brother and her mom and I with each other. Adding the goldfish to this concept of not lingering on mistakes helped the twins visualize this abstract concept perfectly. 

Be Curious, not Judgmental

In season 1, episode 8, Ted bets with Rupert on a game of darts. During Ted’s last turn, he shares a story about how people constantly belittle and judge him, which makes him feel bad until he realizes it has nothing to do with him.

He used his “be curious, no judgmental” quote to explain to Rupert that if he had been curious enough to ask Ted anything about his life instead of belittling him, he would have known that Ted was a fantastic Dart player.

This scene made me self-reflect on my behavior, whether I jump to judgment or make assumptions about people in my life instead of giving them the benefit of the doubt and being curious about their perspective?

Conclusion

Ted Lasso’s charm isn’t just his mustache or his infectious optimism. It’s his ability to lead with heart, humor, and humility.

We can become better leaders and humans by creating safe spaces for honesty, fostering resilience, and encouraging curiosity.

Now, go watch Ted Lasso!

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