Ted Lasso (the professional soccer coach on Apple TV+’s comedy) says, be like a goldfish, and you’ll be happy -with 10-second memories, goldfish don’t dwell on past mistakes and failures. Let’s join the show and de-stigmatize mental illness in the office. Anxiety in the workplace is common from completing duties, managerial differences, to looming lay-offs. There could be hidden underlying anxiety according to Jennifer Moss, author of The Burnout Epidemic (Harvard Business Review Press, 2021) and Unlocking Happiness at Work (Kogan Page, 2016).
Ted Lasso exemplifies characteristics that make for a positive work environment: his inclusivity and over-arching kindness. He holds employees accountable for bullying and harassment by benching and ultimately trading an arrogant superstar bully. Without accountability for unprofessionalism, stress can fester and result in burnout and ultimately turnover.
Chia-Chia Chang, coordinator for partnership at the Office of Total Worker Health at the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, says that “day-to-day, your supervisor probably influences your mental health more than your doctor.” Training managers on the crucial part that they play in shaping worker mental health, employees may report less pressure and work/life discord and increased company loyalty.
When the team encounters defamation by the media, Ted takes them to the sewers of London. “Let anything we don’t need flow right through,” as draining away the funk makes us robust.
“For me, 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 says. Instead of a ruthless company culture, Ted encourages team unification.
Ted often says, “I appreciate you.” Train your managers to be involved with their reports without micromanaging. Thank-you notes and regular check-ins with your employees can go a long way to building a culture of kindness. Show them that you are concerned about and care for them. As Ted says, “If you care about someone, and you got a little love in your heart, there ain’t nothing you can’t get through together.”