Award Winning Show, Ted Lasso, Gives Leadership Lessons On How To Foster Inclusion In The Workplace!
The award-winning cast of Ted Lasso is this week's inclusion hero. The Apple TV show will make you laugh, think, and perhaps cry as it examines a United Kingdom soccer team's journey under foreign leadership. The team has lots of diversity but has yet to succeed in working together to achieve the goal of winning a championship. Through a series of mishaps contributing to a losing streak, we have a purview of the complexity of the human vulnerability that drives decision-making and success. Despite rather colorful language, the shows continual push for inclusivity is refreshing. Before long, cheering for Coach Ted Lasso and the underdog Team Richmond becomes the norm. Therefore, Ted Lasso and his team deserve accolades for promoting inclusion. Take note of the many leadership lessons that parallel inclusive leadership in the workplace. Examples include a roadmap for taking a stand despite the threat of financial loss, a how-to guide for embracing cultural differences and leading with discomfort to allow differing leadership to thrive.
WALK THE TALK AND STAND UP FOR INCLUSION
Leaders are expected to demonstrate inclusivity by standing behind causes that aren't company-specific, impacting the company's bottom line, and show of community. This scenario plays out in Ted Lasso when a player requests to back out of an endorsement deal from a company sponsor with negative dealings that impact the player's origin country. The show provides a behind-the-scenes look at the team owner's struggle with negotiating and making difficult decisions. In the end, Rebecca decided that player value trumped business and did the right thing and stood behind the player even at the risk of financial loss. Likewise, leaders are often caught between a rock and a hard place when deciding whether to support employees, maintain customer relationships, and heed board guidance.
Ted Lasso promotes positivity and inclusion in the series. VIA GETTY IMAGES
Suppose one needs clarification on how to embrace unfamiliar cultural celebrations. In that case, there's an episode where the character Leslie Higgins, Director of Communications, and a family man, invites players from different cultures over for Christmas dinner. Numerous characters from other countries introduce a cultural dish and a story connecting the dots to a tradition. And so the story continues creating a memorable holiday filled with an eclectic mix of cultures. One can't help but recall the poignant quote from education trailblazer Jane Elliott, who equated a salad analogy as the best recipe for appreciation of our differences. In Ted Lasso, the scene described above beautifully depicts the welcoming of differences. The key here is to be intentional in selecting the facilitator of this experience. Invite everyone to take advantage of the opportunity to expand cultural horizons and note the impending improvements in communications, collaboration, and innovation.
ALLOW DIVERSITY TO PARTICIPATE IN LEADERSHIP
Ted Lasso's differences stand out in the series, as fan feedback suggests he is an atypical leader for the role. He is vulnerable when asking for help and allows others to lead. Common inclusion strategies showcase Ted promoting diverse leaders to make critical decisions for the team's success. In one instance, Ted asks the team's underutilized kit man, Nate, for his ideas on team plays. Nate shyly offers his suggestion. Not only does Ted demonstrate active listening, but he also implements Nate's suggestions beautifully, giving appropriate credit and amplifying Nate's value. These actions later result in a promotion for Nate. Ted is a model, inclusive leader who goes above and beyond for his team and all those around him. He gets his team to work together to solve complex problems and succeed.
This article was originally published in Forbes.
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