12 Ted Lasso Leadership Lessons

Bill and Ralph dissect and discuss the leadership wisdom of Ted Lasso. Whether you’re a fan of the eponymous Apple TV show or haven’t seen it, listen in for a fun analysis of Lasso’s approach and gain insights on principles and techniques you can incorporate into your own leadership.

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*Note: The following text is the output of transcribing from an audio recording. Although the transcription is largely accurate, in some cases may be incomplete or inaccurate due to inaudible passages or transcription errors



Bill Berthel: Welcome to the Get Emergent Podcast, where we discuss leadership concepts and best practices. We like to provide ideas, concepts, and pragmatic experiments to help you develop as a leader. I’m Bill Berthel.

Ralph Simone: And I’m Ralph Simone.

Bill Berthel: So Ralph, we’ve got a great topic for this podcast. Our business partner Kathy Gaynor, who happens to not watch the Great Show of Ted Lasso that you and I are big fans of.

I, I think she watches it vicariously through us, which, which is one way to consume a TV show. But Kathy found this great list, I think website on the internet, somewhere of these 12 leadership lessons of, you know, Ted Lasso wisdom that we’d like to talk about this morning.

Ralph Simone: Absolutely. I gotta be transparent here. I was a reluctant viewer initially.

Bill Berthel: Oh, me too. That’s interesting.

Ralph Simone: I had seen a couple of the commercials and I thought, this is corny. But I had heard from enough people, I respected that you gotta watch this show. And then once I started watching it, I was hooked. And you know, I’ve used.

Various lines from Ted Lasso. So this list I think is really powerful and we may or may not get through the whole list, but we ought start with the first one, which I think is a tenant for what we do in our coaching business. Believe in yourself. The importance of that when you’re leading people, right?

Believe in yourself.

Bill Berthel: Absolutely right. That’s a piece of credibility in your leadership. If you don’t believe in yourself, it’s going to be hard to follow that individual as a leader. So there’s credibility there. There’s also that realistic optimism that I can do this. We can do this. Being rooted in reality, but moving it towards positive progression in the work that starts with believing in yourself.

Ralph Simone: The belief causes you to take action. It encourages you to experiment. It encourages you to practice. I think it builds resilience and in the show they have the, the signed believe over his office and, you know, Napoleon Hill said, what the mine can conceive and believe it can achieve.

You know, helping people to believe in their potential, in their goals, in their dreams, and then supporting them. And I, and I think one of the things I like about the show is how supportive he is in this kind of folksy way of people continuing, you know, to believe in themselves.

Bill Berthel: Well, it’s not on the list, but as a coach, he empowers people to believe in themselves and he believes in others, which is really endearing in his character and certainly as a leader.

If our listeners don’t watch that show as the episodes continue, at least for me, his folkiness and corniness starts to become really endearing qualities. I start to fall in love with the guy, and the second piece on the list is a perfect Ted Lasso ism. Doing the right thing is never the wrong thing.

Ralph Simone: And you know, it’s interesting to me, right, that the right thing is the right thing regardless. And, if you have to ask about it, it means you probably have some doubts about the choices. You know, doing, the right thing can be giving feedback, right? Giving performance feedback. It could be not saying something, right?

Yeah. Yeah. It could be offering some encouragement when you see someone needs it, right? I always remember the, you know, The story. This was a football, American football, not the soccer football that we talk about in the Ted Lasso show. If a halfback or fullback drops the ball, a lineman, an offensive lineman, wouldn’t pick it up and say, well, he dropped it. Right? The right thing is to pick up the ball. Regardless of who caused the problem. And I think. A lot of leadership is about doing the right thing. It’s principle-centered. It’s listening to our conscience. It’s considering what is best for all right? It’s kind of replacing selfishness with selflessness.

Bill Berthel: Yeah, absolutely. Absolutely. And it’s modeling that, right? It’s, it’s leading through your behaviors and leading through those examples as well for your team, I think of it as a touchstone, but that sign that Ted Lasso puts over the doorway as an important reminder in the belief piece, it’s modeling the behaviors of doing the right things as well.

Ralph Simone: Perfect.

Number three, I think is really fitting for the work we do in leadership development coaching. All people are different people, right? One size fits one.

Bill Berthel: One size fits, one. That’s it with the tendency to stereotype or the tendency to categorize so we can make meaning of individuals. There’s some value in that.

However, we miss what each individual can contribute to their authentic talents or their authentic contribution if we’re not seeing each individual as they are. And something I love about what we do, our team, is that we meet people where they are. That’s what this says to me. Leaders need to meet people where they are.

Ralph Simone: Yeah. And help them. Right. Create that space instead of trying to figure it out. How it unfolds. And I think he’s brilliant with that in the show. And which leads to number four, see good in others. You know, we’re so quick to judge, we’re so quick to try and figure things out. And I think this idea of people are either doing one of two things, they’re either helping or they’re asking for help.

And I think if we can see the good in them, that’s what we’ll hear in any of their requests or cries for help. We’ll hear that.

Bill Berthel: So I think Ted is sometimes challenged, his character is sometimes challenged in this place, but he really models this and then he’s questioned by people around him. He sees good in so many things it almost seems unreal at times. There are examples where he’s really stepping up and turning the other cheek or embracing his quote-unquote nemesis or enemy.

Ralph Simone: And, but energetically, you know, when we think about it energetically, he’s operating in a much higher level of energy, which allows us to be more creative.

And I was thinking about a line from another movie I watched recently. It was S F T. See, feel, trust, and I think what we see the good in people kind of feel that good and trust that they can step further into their potential or greatness. It’s one of the things, you know, when I sit there and I know it’s just a TV show, my eyes start to water up.

It’s when I, I see his belief in others. He sees something in them, he feels it. They feel it. And he trusts and they trust that they can step further into their greatness, which I think is just one of the reasons I look forward to the show. You know, I guess it comes out every Wednesday. You know, my wife and I both, you know, Ted Lasso night?

Bill Berthel: It’s Ted Lasso Night. Yeah. The same thing happens in our household as well. Number five on the list, courage is about being willing to try.

Ralph Simone: Yeah. You know, we encourage people and create the space for experimentation. And helping them find that courage. And I think courage and belief are really intertwined.

And yeah, I actually think experimentation or action is applied faith. And that requires a level of courage because you’re stepping into the unknown.

Bill Berthel: Yeah, absolutely. Well, well, vulnerability isn’t, Named on this list. So tied to action, perhaps it is related to this next piece on the list where its vulnerability is a strength, not a weakness.

Right? We so often think of number six on the list as vulnerability as a strength, not a weakness. We often think of vulnerability as showing too much or putting a kind of weaker foot forward. But five and six on this list are so related. It, it takes courage, it takes vulnerability to step into that unknown space you’re talking about.

Ralph Simone: We’ve had a lot of training that says, don’t show weakness. Right? We’ve got a lot of training that causes us to armor up, and that’s why we don’t have as much authentic conversation as we could. And if you don’t accurately identify the challenge, it’s tough to move through it. And so vulnerability helps us with self-honesty.

And it helps us actually create more connection as opposed to less connection. Seven almost seems self-evident, tell the truth. But when I thought of the lesson just off of the list, you know, it’s not just telling the truth to other people, but it’s telling your truth and telling yourself the truth.

And again, I think there’s an element of self-honesty that’s critical for effective leadership.

Bill Berthel: So I love that, you know, telling the truth can be rooted in what are the facts. It’s often pitted against not lying or not being honest, but telling our truth, right? That’s about our courage to be authentic.

That’s our authenticity. And I think the character of Ted Lasso is that I think he’s an authentic guy, whether he is corny or folksy or goofy. He’s an authentic leader.

Ralph Simone: Yeah, he doesn’t seem to be worried about what people will think of his folksy metaphors and analogies. He just kinda puts him out there, you know, in a very authentic and vulnerable way.

And again, I think that’s the charm of his, of character, and people you know who want to not like him eventually love him.

Bill Berthel: Yeah. He wins people over, doesn’t he?

Ralph Simone: Which leads to number eight. You know, winning is an attitude, and I, and I think we believe that, right? We talk a lot about the mindsets of transformational leaders and you know, they see possibility and they see growth, and they’re curious and they’re responsible.

And I think that’s really, an attitude or a mindset. It starts there, right? The ancestor to every action is a thought. And so this belief goes, it actually goes back to number one, you know, believe in yourself, and that’s the first step in winning.

Bill Berthel: And in the program, he embodies this so well. They are not a winning team as far as stats in the game goes, they, they seem to lose more than they win, but his attitude is not one of losing or acquiescing or giving up.

Ralph Simone: Yeah. I think it goes to the growth mindset. You know, that was the Mandela phrase that I either win or learn. And I think he’s really focused on the learning that takes place around how they could play the game better, but the learning about themselves. And learning about the relationships they have with each other. I think there’s a lot of the growth mindset in this that there’s learning and improving along the way.

Bill Berthel: Absolutely. Number nine, I love it’s optimists do more and this one speaks so loudly to me. When I’m, when I’m in a place where I’m like, oh, I’m not getting enough done, I recognize that’s so much about my kind of outlook.

Right? If I’m a little bit more optimistic, I’m not talking saccharin, Rosie Glass Bs. Here talking just like slanted, a little bit more optimistic. I start to get things done. My to-do list shrinks and my achievements go up.

Ralph Simone: It keeps you in action. I think it feeds you attitude. I think it gives you the courage to keep moving forward.

I was thinking about, you know, I had a Ted Lasso moment when I was coaching soccer I had, was coaching my daughter’s soccer team and they were young kids, seven or eight years old, and we actually went undefeated and about halfway through the year there was a parent who was watching me, apparently a lot closer than I thought, and he came up to me and said, I don’t understand how your team wins week after week.

You don’t seem to know anything about soccer. How do you do it? And I, and I was Kind of so incredulous by the move. I said, well, you’ve been studying me so closely, how do you think I do it? He, and he said a couple of things, which I think are embedded in these lessons. He said, one, you’re very positive. You’re very optimistic. Yeah. You believe in these kids. And two, you’ve got an assistant coach that seems to know what he’s doing. I, I, I took it as a compliment, by the way. I said thank you. Although I, I’m not sure that’s, What he intended. But I think that leads to, if we’re gonna be an effective leader or coach, we have to stay teachable.

We have to be open to learning and experimenting with new ways of doing things. And that’s his number 10 on the list. Stay teachable.

Bill Berthel: I think it’s so important, right? Leaders are learners. However we’re learning whether that’s what we’re reading, formal leadership development, learning day in, day out with our teams, through our experiences.

Leaders stay teachable and Ted shares that. Number 11 is actually my very favorite on this list, Ralph. I wrote a blog around this one a while ago actually when the show first came out. It’s be a goldfish. If you do something wrong, do not let it define you. Forget it, like a goldfish within 10 seconds, right?

They say that a goldfish’s memory is about 10 seconds. As soon as you know, the goldfish turns around and the bowl it forgot what happened on the way there. And I like that applied to where we might have done something wrong or, or failed, or made, you know, in error. Like, don’t let that beat ya up. Don’t ruminate in that space.

Learn and move on.

Ralph Simone: And I think we can even use that around the positive stuff because I think sometimes we too tightly identify in a very narrow way of who we are. And we’re much more than that. We’re continually growing and evolving, so I, I like that, be a goldfish, but almost for anything. The next moment is a completely new moment.

And we don’t have to be limited by who we think we are based on a past performance. And last, what’s the last one on Ted Lassos 12 leadership lessons?

Bill Berthel: Happiness is a choice. Happiness is a choice. We see Ted as a character chooses happiness, time and again, even when he is struggling. This idea of not living our life at the effect of outside forces.

While there are absolutely things that will affect us and they should, it’s not about being oblivious. We are able to choose happiness. We’re always at choice, and happiness is a choice.

Ralph Simone: I think it’s a great tagline for the proactive model, right? When Covey taught and the seven habits have it won between stimulus and response, humans have this freedom to choose.

And it doesn’t mean that the event was pleasant, but we can choose how we respond to the event. And if we come from a place of optimism, and positivity, we’re, we’re more likely to positively influence that unfortunate situation. And I think we’re always at a choice point. I like to think about conscious choices, and we want those choices to be informed by our purpose and our values.

And so we can always choose. There’s always a lesson embedded in whatever experience we have.

Bill Berthel: And to our listeners, whether this is a conscious choice to listen to us or you’re already in the habit. We hope you continue to listen to the Get Emergent podcast. Thank you for listening. And you can listen to a new podcast two times a month here at Get Emergent, where we bring you contemporary leadership topics and ideas, balanced with what we hope you find to be best practices you can apply in your leadership.

Thank you.


  1. Pam Brunet on June 1, 2023 at 3:01 pm

    To be cliche, I couldn’t love this more. Way to be relevant Emergent!!

  2. Ralph Bott on June 2, 2023 at 11:17 am

    Loved the Ted Lasso discussion. I’m a fan of the show and have often noticed how Ted’s points, made in his fun wacky way are meaningful. You both did an excellent job of expanding upon them!

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