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“I Do Love A Locker Room. It Smells Like Potential.” - Ted Lasso

April 09, 20236 min read

Ted Lasso is a television show that has captured the hearts of many, thanks to its heartwarming storyline and its uplifting messages about work and life.

The show follows the journey of Ted Lasso, a college American football coach from the United States who is hired to coach an English Premier League football team, despite having no experience in the sport.

One of the first things Ted Lasso did was create a simple handwritten "Believe" poster that is displayed prominently in the locker room. It is a reminder to him and the team to stay wholesome and focused. Thus a reminder to pass through obstacles, vulnerabilities and adversities.

For Leaders

Lead with empathy and kindness

To lead with empathy like Ted Lasso, take the time to understand your team members' perspectives and concerns, offer support and encouragement when needed, and be mindful of their well-being.

Research has shown that leaders who exhibit empathy and kindness towards their team members are more likely to create a positive work environment, reduce employee turnover, and increase productivity (Eisenbeiss, Knippenberg, & Boerner, "Transformational Leadership and Employee Well-Being: The Mediating Role of Trust in the Leader and Self-Efficacy" - Journal of Occupational Health Psychology).

For example, you could offer flexible working hours, establish an employee assistance program, or simply take the time to check in with your team members regularly.

Communicate clearly and honestly

To communicate like Ted Lasso, establish clear goals and expectations, provide regular updates and feedback, and create a safe and supportive environment for feedback and suggestions.

Effective communication is crucial for building trust and achieving success. Leaders who communicate clearly and honestly with their team members are more likely to increase employee engagement, improve customer satisfaction, and achieve better financial performance (Watson Wyatt, "Communication ROI Study" - Watson Wyatt Worldwide).

For example, you could schedule regular team meetings, use technology to facilitate virtual communication or encourage open-door policies to encourage employees to express their concerns or ideas.

Lead by example

To lead by example like Ted Lasso, demonstrate the values and behaviours you expect from your team members, be transparent and accountable, and recognize and reward positive behaviours.

Leaders who model the behaviour they expect from their team members are more likely to inspire and motivate their employees to perform at their best (Goffee & Jones, "The Leader's Guide to Corporate Culture" - Harvard Business Review Press).

For example, you could implement a recognition program for employees who demonstrate the desired behaviours, share stories of team members who embody the values, or provide opportunities for team members to collaborate and learn from each other.

For Teams

Embrace diversity

To embrace diversity like Ted Lasso, value and celebrate differences, create a culture of inclusion, and leverage the strengths of your diverse team members.

Research has shown that companies with more diverse workforces are more likely to outperform their peers in terms of profitability and value creation (Hunt et al. "Diversity Wins: How Inclusion Matters" - McKinsey & Company).

For example, you could implement diversity training programs, create mentoring opportunities for underrepresented groups, or establish diversity and inclusion committees to promote awareness and action.

Foster collaboration

To foster collaboration like Ted Lasso, establish clear roles and responsibilities, encourage open communication and feedback, and celebrate team accomplishments.

Collaboration is essential for achieving common goals and creating a sense of shared ownership (West, "Teamwork in the Age of Coronavirus" - Harvard Business Review).

For example, you could create team-building activities, establish cross-functional teams to work on projects or organize regular team outings to build camaraderie.

Focus on individual strengths

To focus on individual strengths like Ted Lasso, assess your team members strengths and weaknesses, create opportunities for team members to use their strengths, and provide training and support for areas where team members need improvement.

Teams perform best when team members are able to leverage their individual strengths towards a common goal (CliftonStrengths, "The Power of CliftonStrengths" - Gallup).

For example, you could use a tool like the CliftonStrengths assessment to identify each team member's top strengths, assign tasks that align with those strengths, and offer coaching or training to develop weaker areas.

Change Makers

Be adaptable

To be adaptable like Ted Lasso, communicate clearly about the change, involve employees in the change process, provide support and resources for those affected by the change, and measure the impact of the change to ensure success.

In today's fast-paced business environment, change is inevitable and leaders must be able to navigate it successfully. According to research by Prosci, companies that effectively manage change are more likely to achieve their desired outcomes and experience higher levels of employee engagement and satisfaction (Prosci, "Best Practices in Change Management").

For example, you could hold town hall meetings to communicate the change, establish a change management team to facilitate the process, offer training and coaching for employees to adapt to the change, and collect feedback to make adjustments as necessary.

Stay positive

To stay positive like Ted Lasso, focus on the opportunities presented by the change, celebrate progress and successes, and encourage team members to stay optimistic.

Change can be difficult, but leaders who maintain a positive attitude can help their team members stay motivated and focused (Achor, "The Happiness Advantage" - Currency).

For example, you could create a vision board that illustrates the positive outcomes of the change, establish a reward system for employees who adapt well to the change or organize team-building activities to help team members stay motivated.

Embrace continuous improvement

To embrace continuous improvement like Ted Lasso, encourage feedback and suggestions from team members, regularly assess and adjust processes and strategies, and create a culture of experimentation and learning.

Change is a continuous process, and leaders who embrace a culture of continuous improvement are more likely to stay ahead of the curve (Deming, "Out of the Crisis" - The MIT Press).

For example, you could establish a feedback system that encourages team members to share ideas for improvement, hold regular retrospectives to evaluate team performance or offer opportunities for team members to attend training or conferences to stay up-to-date with the latest trends and technologies.

In a world where negativity and conflict can be all-consuming, Ted Lasso's message of positivity and effective leadership is a refreshing and inspiring change. By focusing on empathy, kindness, and a belief in oneself and one's team, Ted Lasso embodies the qualities of a truly great leader.

The research and data back up his methods, showing that effective leadership, teamwork, and change management are critical components for achieving success in any organization.

So, whether you're a leader, team member, or change maker, take a page out of Ted Lasso's playbook and approach every challenge with a positive and open-minded attitude. By embracing the principles of effective leadership and focusing on individual strengths, you can achieve anything you set your mind to.

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