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Improve team psychological safety: leadership lessons from Ted Lasso 

How the 4 C’s of leadership can help you build trust and connection in your team.

The 4 C’s—Compassion, Curiosity, Courage, and Connection are a helpful guide for leadership in teams.

This approach lays the foundation for a positive and empowering environment when championed by a visionary leader.

But how does it work in practice?

A beloved character Ted Lasso gives us an idea in the hit TV series, ‘Ted Lasso’.

Ted teaches us valuable lessons on leadership throughout the show. 

He focuses on creating an environment where team members feel safe to speak up. To take risks. And be vulnerable. Without worrying about doing or saying the wrong thing.

This approach helps to improve team dynamics and the success of the team.

It’s an approach that aligns with the leadership research of David Clutterbuck.

He found that leaders can transform teams and organisations when they:

  • nurture individual potential
  • encourage open feedback
  • build meaningful connections.

This creates a culture of continuous learning and growth in their organisations. 

Both Clutterbuck and Ted emphasise the importance of compassion, curiosity, courage, and connection in guiding teams towards success.

Let’s see how Ted leads using the 4C’s in more detail:


Ted’s compassionate nature comes out the moment he walks into the football club, AFC Richmond.

He builds connections with his team members, staff, and even the club’s owner, Rebecca Welton. 

In season 1, episode 2, Ted’s ritual of ‘Biscuits with the boss’ emphasises how it’s important to connect with others on a personal level. 

By sharing this simple ritual, Ted shows that taking the time to get to know each other outside of work can build trust and understanding within the team.


Ted actively asks for feedback from his players and staff. He’s curious. And keen to learn from his mistakes. 

This habit affected his team in unexpected ways. For instance, in season 2, episode 2, a psychologist comments on the team environment, “wonderful atmosphere here. All the employees are thoughtful and kind …”

Ted highlights that a psychologically safe environment isn’t solely about high performance. It’s also about embracing kindness and openness.

Being curious while being kind and open can have a positive impact on your team.


It’s often hard to be vulnerable and open. It takes courage. 

Leaders may think that showing vulnerability, and calling out problems may be a sign of weakness. 

Yet it’s the opposite. It takes strength to address problems. It takes strength to be vulnerable. 

In season 2, episode 4, Keeley said, “Problems, they’re like mushrooms..yeah? The longer you leave them in the dark, the bigger they get …”

She reminds us that acknowledging and addressing the elephants in the room can help teams avoid problems getting bigger. 

And when it comes to mistakes?

Ted’s attitude is:

“We tried something new. Didn’t work. Big whoop.” 

He encourages his team to keep trying. And to accept that mistakes are part of learning and growing. 

This attitude may help your team through changes. And to innovate.


Ted values the connection between team members. And the value of building a supportive vibe. 

“I promise you there is something worse out there than being sad, and that’s being alone and being sad. Ain’t no one in this room alone.” 

He reminds us of the power of connection. And the importance of a united team. Ready to face any challenge together.


All teams go through ups and downs. The 4C’s are a helpful framework to ride out whatever the team faces. It’s a way to set up your team in an environment where growth, innovation, and success can grow.

So let’s take a page from Ted Lasso’s playbook and lead with compassion. Curiosity. Courage. And connection. 

As Ted would say:

“Let’s turn that ship around, follow the North Star, and sail all the way home to success!”

To delve deeper into this leadership approach and explore how you can lead like Lasso, I invite you to download the Lead like Lasso: A Checklist for Effective Leadership.


Founder & Director

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