October 26, 2023

Is Ted Lasso a Servant Leader?

Do you miss the quirky, charming and lovable Ted Lasso like I do? 

During the pandemic, my teenage kids and I binge watched Season 1 of Ted Lasso and we were all hooked immediately. I anxiously waited for Season 2 and then Season 3. To say that I miss the show, the British cultural references, the characters and the story is a massive understatement. Perhaps, most of all, I long for Ted Lasso’s character as he artfully led each person around him with his own particular style. 

The character of Ted Lasso, from the eponymous Apple TV+ series, has become a cultural phenomenon, not just for his folksy charm and unyielding optimism, but also for his embodiment of servant leadership. Ted prioritizes the needs of the athletes, his peers, his friends, and even his boss through his actions and attitudes throughout the series.

One of the key traits that Ted Lasso shows is humility, he is never afraid to release his ego and allow others to shine. As Trent Crimm says during the series, “In a business that celebrates ego, Ted reins his in”. This humility is also seen in his style of leadership, where he values every voice, from the kit-man to the owner, setting this as a cultural norm.Ted’s humility is not about thinking less of himself, but about thinking of himself less. His humility allows him to be more effective by developing his emotional intelligence, demonstrating empathy, and recognizing his limitations.

Ted also exemplifies accountability, a trait that is crucial in building trust within a team. He understands that each individual’s actions contribute to the team’s success or failure, and he encourages his team members to take personal responsibility for their actions. This accountability is not just about owning up to mistakes, but also about taking risks and supporting each other’s choices. The show portrays and promotes accountability powerfully, emphasizing personal repentance and the power of forgiveness. We all remember the moment that Ned faces the dragon in the eye and owns up to his past, and Ted and the entire team forgive him.

Resilience is another key trait that Ted Lasso embodies. Despite facing criticism, disregard, and general ridicule, Ted remains unflappable and encourages his players to do the same. He demonstrates that resilience is not just about bouncing back from adversity, but also about maintaining a positive outlook and believing in the potential of his team. This resilience is further bolstered by his emotional intelligence, which allows him to navigate challenges with optimism and embrace change as an opportunity for growth.

Ted Lasso’s approach to leadership also highlights the importance of mental wellness. He recognizes that many leaders have broken spirits and have suffered from a variety of emotional hurts. However, instead of hiding these vulnerabilities, he uses them as opportunities to help make whole those with whom he comes in contact. He demonstrates the power of positivity, empathy, and building authentic connections in personal and professional relationships.From Rebecca to Keeley to every single player on the team – it is obvious throughout each episode.

I am a true believer. Ted Lasso provides a powerful cultural example of servant leadership, embodying traits such as humility, accountability, resilience, and a focus on mental wellness. His leadership style offers valuable lessons for leaders in all fields, emphasizing the importance of putting the needs of others first.

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