The Lasso Special

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Midnight Poutine

Think back to the last fun moment at work. Was the work itself fun? Did the fun come from interacting with colleagues? Though the ideas of fun and work are sometimes seen as separate ends of a spectrum, genuine fun at work typically results in higher engagement with work, as often illustrated in the acclaimed series Ted Lasso.

The show’s title character, a routinely criticized and underestimated football coach, insists that leadership isn’t just about numbers. Rather, as depicted in the clip below, Coach Lasso asserts that leadership is about people. After all, people tend to deliver better results when they enjoy what they’re doing, as goes the old sentiment, “Do what you love, and you’ll never work a day in your life.”

Yet, despite research having shown for years that human-centric leadership fosters productivity, the notions of fun and work have remained largely separate. Perhaps this is because fun can sometimes be seen as a distraction, leaching attention away from tasks. Whatever the reason, organizational behavior professor Daniel Cable maintains that fun is nonetheless crucial for both morale and productivity, discussed in this podcast.

Encouraging enjoyment at work is especially important when so much of our lives is spent working, conveyed here by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. As Lasso weaves compassion and fun throughout his leadership style, we also stand to benefit from the competitive advantage of this combination, detailed in this TED Talk by Nick Gianoulis, founder of the Fun Dept consultancy.

The key lesson of events like the Great Reshuffle is that to effectively lead today’s teams, we must be willing to experiment. The leadership models of a bygone era simply may no longer be applicable, thus must we put effort into learning what motivates our teams. Tools such as the SurePeople Relationship Advisor can help us understand whether colleagues are driven by feelings of security, significance, or control. From there, we can experiment with different approaches for each.

This week, be sure to embrace the idea of fun and, as Coach Lasso advises, embrace change.

“Taking on a challenge is a lot like riding a horse, isn’t it? If you’re comfortable while you’re doing it, you’re probably doing it wrong.”
― Jason Sudeikis as Ted Lasso

Do you have an idea you want to share with an empowered community of self-aware professionals? If you’d like to contribute an idea or article to ‘In The Flow of Work’ on the Evolve blog, just send us a message or submit a post to our Head of Content, Adam Schneider

Man with beard resting head on hand, and a woman in the foreground, both looking up at a presentation.

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