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October 5, 2020
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Under leadership
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Coach! Football is life.

When we began watching a new TV series called Ted Lasso, I wasn't sure what to expect. The show is about an American football coach named Ted Lasso, who takes over a premier Premier League soccer team despite having dubious qualifications at best. I don't regret a single minute I've spent watching this show. Quite the opposite, in fact: I'd say that Ted Lasso is one series we all need in 2020. Underneath the comedy and sports metaphors is a reminder that being kind to one another can make a difference.

Ted Lasso is also a reminder of what good leadership looks like.

The rest of the article contains spoilers.

Ted understands that leadership comes from everywhere. He asks for everyone's input, which is how he discovers Nathan, the club's equipment manager. Ted quickly realizes Nathan has valuable insight into which strategies worked in the past and which ones didn't, and Nathan's strategic mind allows him to become one of Ted's most trusted advisers.

Not only does Ted use everyone's input in his decisions, but he is quick to course-correct if a decision needs to be changed. He doesn't blame anyone else when things go wrong, but takes full responsibility for his choices.

There are numerous examples when Ted shows he is an excellent listener. He takes pauses to consider what was said, and he asks lots of questions. The show's screenwriters created a powerful scene to show what could happen if someone doesn't listen well. The club's previous owner thinks he tricked Ted into a losing bet in a darts game, only to find out the hard way Ted is an exceptional dart player. "Be curious, not judgemental," as Ted put it.

Ted shows he is vulnerable throughout the series. He leads with empathy. Empathy is one of Ted's greatest assets as a leader. Even when they lose the last game of the season to Manchester City, he congratulates Jamie, a forward who left Ted's club on bad terms earlier in the season.

Ted is passionate about creating teams that have each other's backs. He is always first to offer support to each team member in struggles and triumphs. As a result, his team members begin to replicate his behavior; that is, he leads by example.

Ted also surrounds himself with smart and passionate people, like Dani Rojas: Coach! Football is life.

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My name is Gergely, and this is where I write about engineering management and open-source.
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