Leadership Lessons from Ted Lasso and What to Ask Your Boss
The resources on leadership can be overwhelming from books to podcasts, to TED Talks, research, methodologies, and beyond. While I value the volume of resources available, these 12 lessons from Ted Lasso, the award-winning series on Apple TV about an American football coach leading a British soccer team are simple and powerful.
The Ted Lasso character is sincere, vulnerable, authentic, and humble and his lessons below stand the test of time and retain value and purpose. At the end of the day, being a good human is essential for leadership.
12 Ted Lasso Leadership Lessons:
1. Believe in yourself
2. Doing the right thing is never the wrong thing
3. All people are different people
4. See good in others
5. Courage is about being willing to try
6. Vulnerability is a strength not a weakness
7. Tell the truth
8. Winning is an attitude
9. Optimists do more
10. Stay teachable
11. Be a Goldfish – If you do something wrong do not let it define you. Forget it – like a goldfish – within 10 seconds.
12. Happiness is a choice
Making the Most of Leader Check-Ins
Whether you are the boss, or report to someone above you, the classic check-in, or 1:1 meetings are often ill utilized. Take charge of the situation and come to the meeting with questions for your boss, so you can get the guidance, clarity, and feedback you need from your manager.
Steven Rogelberg, Liana Kreamer and Cydnei Meredith co-authored a stellar piece in the Harvard Business Review about what to ask your boss in your 1:1 meetings.
Ask for guidance on tasks and projects:
- I’m having some challenges with X. Can you help me think about how to navigate it successfully?
- What do you think of my idea Z? Do you have any suggestions for how to improve it, or an alternative idea I should consider.
Clarify priorities and expectations:
- Given what’s on my plate, what should I be prioritizing right now, and can you help me understand why?
- As you review my workload, am I taking on the right projects?
Align with the organization and its strategy:
- To help me better understand the big picture, how does the work I’m doing fit into the company’s broader goals?
- What’s new in our company’s strategic priorities that you feel I should know about?
Seek growth opportunities and career advancement:
- What can I do to prepare myself for greater opportunities or to pursue X interest of mine?
- What should I be targeting as my next career move and why?
Get feedback on your performance:
- Am I meeting your expectations? I really value your perspective on my performance.
- What should I start, stop, or continue doing?
Whether you are the boss, or the direct report, take ownership of the relationship and ask for what you need to do your best work. Clarity of expectations are essential for all, and open lines of communication are not always a given. Be proactive and plan for your next 1:1. Create an agenda, share it in advance, manage up your wins, and be ready to ask clarifying questions.
The Ted Lasso lessons are applicable whether you have a leadership title or not. Being a good human is not contingent on your rank. Consider how you can role-model exemplary leadership behavior.