How to lead not manage — The Richmond way

Sam McLaren
7 min readJun 8, 2023

You might be thinking, “But I don’t manage or lead anyone.” so this blog isn't for me.

Well, here’s the thing: leadership is not limited to a formal managerial role. It’s about more than just overseeing a team. Leadership is about setting an example, being someone others look up to, offering support when it’s needed, and becoming an inspiration to those around you.

In this blog, we’ll explore how you can embody leadership qualities in various aspects of your life, regardless of your title or position.

Lets learn from one of the best leaders… Ted Lasso

While saying goodbye is bittersweet, the finale of Ted Lasso was ideal and perfectly inspiring and i defo didn't get teary multiple times.

As I reflected on the end of the Lasso era after watching the final episode, I reflected on what a great example of leadership Ted is and i wanted to share some tips and takeaways from ‘The Richmond way’

These translate across all of life!

1. All people are different people

Being part of a football team is no different then being part of any team or group of people. And its often easy to forget that not everyone acts, thinks or feels the same as you.

Every person brings unique skills, experiences, and perspectives to the table. Recognise and celebrate these differences to create a more inclusive and productive work environment. A diverse team is a strong team.

When Isaac had his outburst on Ted Lasso this is what Roy said to defend him

“None of us know what is going on in each others lives. So for Issac to do what he did today even though it was wrong, i give him love. And as for why he did what he did that's none of my $%”£ing business”

I mean its Roy Kent i couldn't take out the swearing.

The point is we don’t always know what’s going on with people on the surface, which is why it’s so important to ask questions and get to know people on their level.

Don’t take everything at face value. Challenge yourself to look beyond the surface and delve into the deeper meaning, questioning your initial interpretations and embracing a more thoughtful perspective.

2. Believe in yourselves and not what other people think you should be.

Is there a more important word in this show then Believe?

I think the most important takeaway from the show is to change your mindset and believe that whatever is happening in your life is happening FOR you and not TO you. This is a monumental mindset shift that will help you build perseverance and grit you never knew you had.

Ted Lasso teaches us the importance of self-belief and authenticity. As leaders, we must encourage others to embrace their unique strengths and talents.

By fostering an environment where individuals can be their authentic selves, we inspire creativity, innovation, and a sense of belonging.

3. Vulnerability is a strength, not a weakness:

Admitting your mistakes and being open about your feelings fosters trust and connection within your team.

Encourage open communication and create a safe space for people you work with to share their thoughts and emotions. A vulnerable leader is an authentic and relatable leader.

You want people to come to you looking for advice but also feel open enough to question decisions and offer their own opinions and feelings without fear of being shot down or not being heard

In Ted Lasso, we see men bravely being vulnerable and showing their feelings without any apologies. It teaches us the importance of creating a safe and supportive space where men can be their true selves.

It also challenges the idea that being strong means hiding emotions and shows that true strength comes from being real and asking for help when needed.

By celebrating and encouraging honesty about our feelings, we can build a culture where everyone feels supported as they grow and take care of their emotional well-being.

5. Curiosity.

I love this quote so i am going to post the full one here as i believe its important.

“People have underestimated me my entire life and for years I never understood why — it used to really bother me. Then one day I was driving my little boy to school, and I saw a quote by Walt Whitman, it was painted on the wall there and it said, ‘Be curious, not judgmental.’ I like that.
So, I get back in my car and I’m driving to work and all of a sudden it hits me — all them people that used to belittle me, not a single one of them was curious. You know, they thought they had everything all figured out, so they judged everything, and they judged everyone. And I realized that they’re underestimating me — who I was had nothing to do with it. Because if they were curious, they would’ve asked questions.”

Ask questions. Go deeper. Own and live a growth mindset. Invest in yourself and others by being curious, not righteous. As leaders, we should approach everyone with genuine curiosity, seeking to understand their perspectives and experiences. By setting aside judgment, we create an environment that fosters collaboration, creativity, and inclusivity.

I from a very young age (you can ask my mum) was questioning everything and its something that often as we get older we get taught or teach ourselves not to do this. This is something i am very passionate about and it was the subject of the TED Talk i did last year:

Shameless plug i know!

6. Its not about me. It never was

“Success is not about the wins and losses. It’s about helping these young fellas be the best versions of themselves on and off the field.”

Ted Lasso’s coaching philosophy extends beyond the game. True leadership goes beyond achieving results; it focuses on the personal growth and well-being of the individuals we lead or inspire. By investing in their development, we empower them to reach their full potential and create a positive impact in their lives.

7. Stay teachable: 📚

Staying teachable is about embracing lifelong learning and continually seeking out opportunities for growth and development.

By staying teachable, you foster a culture of curiosity and adaptability that can help you navigate an ever-changing landscape and make sure you are always adapting and learning.

You don’t ever want to be described as someone who is ‘stuck in their ways’ or even worse someone who uses the phrase ‘…we always did it this way…’

Learn new skills, grow, embrace change and dont be afraid to say “i dont know”

8. Be a Goldfish

“The happiest animal in the world? It’s a goldfish. You know why? It’s got a 10-second memory. Be a goldfish.”

In the face of challenges and setbacks, Ted Lasso reminds us to embrace resilience and maintain a positive outlook. As leaders, we need to bounce back from failures, learn from them, and encourage our teams to do the same. By adopting a “goldfish” mentality, we foster a culture of perseverance and optimism.

I struggle with this myself. Sometimes i can be too much of a perfectionist and too hard on myself. I have worked hard to focus on the wins and use key takeaways from my failures to make myself better, not just beat myself up.

Focus on yourself, and try not to let your or others’ emotions affect you negatively. Be accountable, take feedback and grow.

9. Courage is about being willing to try:

Taking risks and stepping out of your comfort zone are essential for growth and success.

Encourage others to face challenges head-on and learn from their experiences.

Together with your team or colleagues promote a culture of experimentation and innovation, celebrate both successes and failures as opportunities to grow.

10. Don’t take yourself too seriously.

Don’t take yourself too seriously. Life is full of adventures, deep meaning, laughter and joy.

So play games with your team, make a joke when you are presenting if someone walks up to you when you are in the office saying they are filming TikTok please don't run away. Seriously… please.

Just because something is work doesn't mean it has to always be work.


Ted Lasso serves as a remarkable source of inspiration and leadership wisdom. By embracing curiosity, prioritising personal growth, maintaining resilience, appreciating the little things, and encouraging authenticity, we can lead our teams to success both on and off the field.

Remember, a little kindness, belief, and curiosity can go a long way.

“And remember, folks, be a goldfish!” — Ted Lasso



Sam McLaren

Working to promote Dorset as a place to live, work, and visit. DL100 member. Inspiringthefuture volunteer. TED Speaker #SamsBrightIdeas