Much like many of you, I was recently looking for a new show to stream. I had just finished The Mandalorian (which I liked, but didn’t love). And, given the political climate and the fact that we’re facing a pretty rough winter, I wanted something a bit lighter.
Enter Ted Lasso.
I had heard many friends talking about this show, including a number of people saying it is one of the best written shows on TV. I’m not a huge Jason Sudeikis fan, but one episode was worth a shot, I thought.
I was instantly hooked. Not only is the writing fantastic, but I absolutely loved the character development. In fact, there were very few characters I didn’t like. From the sexy (and kind-hearted) Keeley Jones to the rough and angry Roy Kent to (my favorite) Coach Beard, there’s a list of characters you will become quickly attached to.
But, none more so than Coach Ted.
And, as I binge-watched the 10 episodes in a few days I found myself thinking: Not only is Ted Lasso an outstanding coach (even though his team is relegated from Premier League play), he’s an even better leader.
In fact, he’s the boss we would all love to work for.
Five big reasons why:
#1: He has your back.
Boy, does he have your back. Look no further than my favorite scene in the show (so far)–when Ted challenges ex-husband Rupert to a game of darts in the local pub to defend the honor of his boss, Rebecca.
One complaint many of us have of our bosses is that they frequently don’t have our backs. They don’t defend us when we’re attacked in a meeting. They don’t come to our rescue when we’re sinking in work. Ted not only is quick to defend his players–he’s equally as quick to defend his boss. Who, by the way, if you watch the show, isn’t exactly the biggest proponent of Ted Lasso in the early episodes.
#2: His first priority is relationships–not results
He even says this out loud multiple times throughout season one. The press quotes him as saying “I don’t care about wins and losses” at one point. You can tell right away Ted Lasso is all about relationships. Case in point: He starts the year by bringing his boss (the aforementioned Rebecca) these little cookies in a small pink box each morning. He does it because it gives him a chance to visit his boss every morning. To ask her a question. To see what she’s up to first-thing. To build a relationship. And (spoiler alert): it works. Early in the season, one of his players, Sam, seems a bit down in the dumps. Ted discoveres his birthday is coming up and arranges a surprise party for Sam. Again, relationships > results. Shouldn’t our bosses operate the same way? Shouldn’t they prioritize relationships with us over corporate results? I know results matter. And, we all want to achieve. But, when we’re all gone, what’s the one thing that matters most? You guessed it.
#3: He supports the whole team
Even the ball boys. In fact, one of the first people Ted tried to develop a relationship with on the team is Nate (the ball boy/equipment guy). The relationship develops so quickly, in fact, that he ends up becoming a “Diamond Dog” (I won’t ruin that surprise!) and offers him an assistant coaching position. There’s a great scene where Ted supports Nate and encourages him to read this note to the team before a huge game.
But, Ted is there in many different ways for his players, too. Offering dating advice to Roy Kent. Offering life advice to his former superstar Jamie Tartt. He supports many different players over the course of the season–just like a good boss should.
#4: He’s vulnerable
So many scenes where this plays out, but none more powerful than this halftime speech after superstar Jamie Tartt walks out of the locker room.
In the speech, he opens up about his impending divorce. He makes the “save” as coach Beard quietly says, but he’s showing extreme vulnerability there. We need our leaders to do this more often–especially in today’s day when bravado is often applauded instead. Whether most people know it or not, they want vulnerability from their leaders. Not to the point of crying at work every day. But, a moment here and there goes a long ways toward making our leaders more human. And, that’s exactly how Ted comes off time and time again in the series.
#5: He doesn’t surround himself with “yes” people
This is a classic leadership trait. We all know leaders who surround themselves with “yes” people. A certain POTUS comes to mind! However, Ted Lasso certainly doesn’t not take that approach. This scene with Coach Beard says it all.
Coach Beard (and Nate in some cases) challenge Lasso at different points in the show. And, Lasso listens and acts based on that information. Sometimes, as in the scene above, it takes a stern follow-up, but he listens and acts. We want to work for leaders like this. Leaders who don’t just want us to tell them how great they are. Leaders who don’t want us to kiss their ass 24/7. We want to work for leaders who WANT challenges. That don’t always have to be right.
We all would be so lucky to work for a person like Ted Lasso.