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EOS® - How To Be a Great Boss Process Template

Learn how our business uses the Entrepreneurial Operating System (EOS) leadership philosophy to empower our employees and drive organizational success.

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EOS® - How To Be a Great Boss Process Template

Learn how our business uses the Entrepreneurial Operating System (EOS) leadership philosophy to empower our employees and drive organizational success.

Introduction

What It Means To Be a “Great Boss”

At our company, we believe that great leadership is the key to empowering our employees and driving organizational success. That's why we’ve adopted the Entrepreneurial Operating System (EOS)’s  How to Be a Great Boss as part of our leadership philosophy. EOS provides a practical framework for casting a clear vision for your team, gaining the traction to get there and building a healthy and thriving culture.

By embracing the EOS principles of being a great boss, our leaders can develop empowered teams that are equipped to achieve our strategic vision and grow as people. 

This process outlines how we will integrate the key concepts of EOS into our leadership practices in order to build a high-performing organization where employees are engaged, empowered, and set up for success.

EOS defines a great boss as someone who can:

  • Effectively delegate work and free themselves up to truly lead and manage.
  • Assess their team and surround themselves with great people.
  • Apply the 5 leadership practices and 5 management practices.
  • Communicate powerfully with each employee deal with employees who don’t meet your expectations.

Source: EOS



What You Should Know First

Being a great leader can sometimes feel out of reach. With so many management techniques and theories out there, it's easy to get overwhelmed. That’s why it’s important to acknowledge these four simple yet powerful truths:

Truth 1:  Being a great leader can be simple. You just need to consistently do 5 key leadership practices and 5 key management practices.

Truth 2:  You don't have to change your natural leadership style. Just be authentic and you will build trust.

Truth 3:  You must genuinely care about your people. If you don't truly care, you'll never be a great leader.

Truth 4:  You must want to be great. That means investing time to continuously improve yourself.

Right People, Right Seat

One of the core EOS tools for helping a leader determine whether someone is in the right seat is GWC™, which stands for Get it, Want it, and Capacity. As leaders, we need to self-reflect in this area. We should ask three questions – Do they/we Get it? Do they/we Want it? Do they/we have the Capacity to do it? – and answer either “Yes” or “No” to each question.

If the answer is “No” to any of the three questions, then that person is in the wrong seat. It’s a simple yet powerful exercise.

GET IT & WANT IT

Is there a deep understanding of the business function and associated processes and roles? When someone gets it, they deeply connect with the position and understand the ins and outs. They feel inspired and passionate about the role enough to want it. 

CAPACITY

“Capacity” has to do with talent, skills, abilities, time, and knowledge.

As a leader in our organization, we know you want to bring out the best in yourself and your team. To achieve this, understand that there are four key capacities that every leader should possess or continuously be working to build in themselves and their people:

Emotional Capacity: The heart to feel what others are feeling. You must be able to manage emotions effectively and build strong relationships with your team. The emotional intelligence to empathize with others and the self-awareness to know how you’re impacting your team is vital.

Intellectual Capacity: The brains to think it through. You’ll need to predict, prioritize, plan, solve conceptualize, strategize and systematize your area of our business using research and data.

Physical Capacity: The stamina to finish what you start. You take pride in your physical and mental well-being. You show up with the energy and determination to make things happen.

Time Capacity: The self-discipline to use your time effectively. You understand the difference between time management and energy management. You know how to prioritize, execute, and delegate to your team’s strengths to see high-value goals to fruition.

Leadership is constant growth and growth takes work. By developing emotional intelligence, strategic thinking, and time and energy management you’re able to better understand, motivate, and guide your team. It allows you to lead by example and bring out the best in your team.

IS EVERYONE IN THE RIGHT SEAT?

With the GWC now clear, think about all of your people right now. Is anyone sitting in a seat who doesn’t meet the above criteria? If so, it’s time to make a change for the betterment of the company and that person. 

How To Be a Great Boss

The 10 Leadership & Management Practices for Accountability 

Now that you’ve got a good understanding of how leaders in our organization conduct themselves, let’s look at the 5 leadership and 5 management practices that will guide your work. These practices form the Leadership + Management = Accountability model or LMA. Great bosses are masters at using these practices.

Leadership is what we do to work “on” the business, directing, conceptualizing and strategizing. Management is what we do to work “in” the business, instructing, communicating and doing.

Being a great leader doesn’t make you a great manager, and being a great manager doesn’t in turn make you a great leader. Great bosses know how to effectively balance these scales.

A great boss creates a work environment where people are fully engaged and highly accountable.” - How to Be a Great Boss

The 5 Leadership Practices

1. Give clear direction

Giving clear direction simply means you have the ability to cast a clear vision that aligns and motivates the team and are creating clear openings or opportunities.

  • Create a compelling vision that provides opportunities (or openings) for your people to step up or step into.
  • Paint a compelling picture of the future that stirs others to action
  • Use the company V/TO to align the team around a common goal
  • Communicate and re-communicate until the vision is shared by all

2. Provide the necessary tools

Building trust looks like knowing and providing the tools and resources your team needs to capitalize on the opportunity you created for them. 

  • Provide the team with resources (budget, equipment, information, connections, internal support, etc.) 
  • Provide the training to do a good job. This includes documenting processes, assigning them internally, and confirming they are being followed.
  • Ensure the team has the technology need to be efficient and effective. 
  • Ensure you have the people needed to win and they are in the right seats.
  • Provide your direct reports the right tools and support they need to succeed.

They must believe you are as invested in their success as you want them to be in the company’s success.

You don’t have to provide all the answers and save the day. You just need to create an environment where they can get the answers and be the hero in their own story. 

Use weekly team meetings to uncover and resolve issues your people are struggling with. We use the EOS Level 10 Meeting agenda for this. 

3. Let go of the vine

We’ve all been told this lie: “If you want something done right you have to do it yourself”. Not only is that not true, it completely debilitates your impact as a leader and your team’s ability to grow.

  • Get out of the way once clear direction and resources are provided so that employees can grow and drive their own success in their role.
  • Hire people you can delegate to (GWC).
  • Truly let go and gets out of the way.
  • Consistently reward strong cultural performers with new responsibilities.
  • Know when to take on an issue and when to leave it with the team.
  • Identify what they are good at and delegate what you are not.
  • Utilizes the Accountability Chart to pass key roles on to their team.
  • Develop capable professionals as a result of delegated activities.

Delegation is key for us to grow and scale our business. Identify mundane tasks taking your time, set a minimum performance bar, train someone to meet it, let them take over fully even if imperfect at first, and focus your freed time on leadership work to empower your team's (and the company’s) growth. With practice your delegatees will improve, freeing you up to spend more time “on” than “in” the business.

Remember, a great leader knows when to guide and when to get out of the way.

4. Act with the greater good in mind 

Our company vision must come first – that’s the greater good. I’m not saying that the company vision trumps your family, but it does trump your own personal business interests.

  • Set a clear example of our core values and vision that we would want our employees to copy.
  • Model behaviors after the answers to all 8 questions on our V/TO.
  • Monitor if employee behaviors mirror the example we’re aiming to set.
  • Prioritize long-term benefits over short-term relief.

All your actions must align with the company vision, mission & values. Culture starts from the top down. Walking the talk will encourage an environment where everyone acts with the greater good in mind.

5. Take Clarity Breaks™ 

In the hustle and bustle of everyday life and business, it's easy to get caught up in constant motion and reaction rather than thoughtful action. That's why taking regular Clarity Breaks™ is so important.

Regularly pauses from day-to-day operations to assess the big picture and sharpen their vision for the team.

  • Work less "in" the business and more "on" the business.
  • Create a clear sense of vision for where the team is going long-term.
  • Instill confidence and stability through a clear sense of direction toward a long-term goal.
  • Schedule Clarity Breaks ™  on the calendar according to whatever flow works best.
  • Schedule uninterrupted time on your calendar to spend time in a calm environment with just a pad and pen.

Without the distractions of technology and a to-do list staring you down, your thoughts can flow freely.

Allow creative ideas, solutions to nagging problems, and insights into your priorities to surface. The goal is to find your focus and realign to purpose.

The 5 Management Practices 

1. Keep expectations clear

Ensure that four aspects of every role on your team are well-defined and readily available:

  1. Our company's core values
  2. The employee's responsibilities
  3. Rocks or company-focused priorities for the quarter and the employee's key objectives for the quarter
  4. Any metrics the employee will be measured against.

By outlining these upfront, both parties gain mutual understanding. You know what the employee expects in terms of guidance and resources. The employee knows what needs to be accomplished and how it aligns to company priorities. Both parties know what the other needs and whether it can be met. With this foundation set, you can empower the employee to execute without excessive oversight. 

  • Simplify priorities down to the critical few. Manager and direct reports are 100% on the same page about what success looks like.
  • Define roles for each direct report in a short, clear list of where they should be focused.
  • Build culture through consistent feedback and accountability related to Core Values.
  • Coach team members to use Rocks to achieve quarterly traction towards team and individual goals. These Rocks represent each person's actual priorities for the quarter. 
  • Assign at least 1 meaningful measurable that defines success for each position. This measurable does not have to be on the scorecard but does need accountability.

Of course, expectations may evolve over time as the business landscape shifts. Strong managers continually revisit these conversations to provide clarity amidst change.

2. Communicate clearly 

Effective communication is essential, and great leaders excel at both communication and emotional intelligence in tandem. Rather than simply telling employees what to do, great managers focus on understanding. They make sure instructions are clear and employees feel heard.

Some tips for improving communication:

  • Actively listen. Don't assume you know how an employee feels or what they mean. Ask clarifying questions if you're unsure. Invite them to restate things in their own words. Repeat back what you heard to confirm shared understanding.
  • Check in on emotions. Ask directly about both positive and negative emotions. This builds empathy and opens dialogue.
  • Ask more than tell. Great managers aim for a high question-to-statement ratio. Ask for input and feedback frequently. "How do you think we can approach this?" "What could you do differently next time?" This empowers employees.
  • Monitor nonverbals. Note facial expressions and silence. If an employee looks concerned, ask what's on their mind. Make sure important points aren't being left unsaid.
  • Consistently communicate to the employee how they are performing
  • Understand how your direct reports believe they are performing and whether their needs are being met.
  • Do not avoid tough conversations. Speak openly without being cold and compassionately without enabling. 
  • Create a safe environment for direct reports to disagree openly.
  • Prioritize active listening skills over talking.

The goal is to create open, two-way communication. When employees feel heard and understood, collaboration improves.

3. Maintain the right meeting pulse™ 

It's important to maintain strong connections with your team members. Schedule weekly team meetings where everyone can come together, collaborate on goals, and stay updated on key metrics. These meetings are essential for keeping the team engaged, productive and aligned.

You should also make time for regular 1:1 meetings with each person to provide individualized coaching, feedback and support. These personal connections let your team members know you care about their unique growth and development.

While you want to provide guidance, avoid the temptation to micromanage. Give your team autonomy while directing them toward shared objectives. Your interaction shows you are invested in their success.

Keep meetings focused and actionable with clear agendas. Follow up on items discussed to show you’re committed to growth and progress. With the right mix of team collaboration and individual support, you can maximize performance, increase job satisfaction and retain top talent.

  • Start and end meetings on time, create consistency as much as possible with day and agenda.
  • Use the L10 structure to provide accountability, effectively solve issues, and communicate information.
  • 1:1 frequency is tailored according to direct report needs - never skip or cancel unless the direct report requests it.
  • Schedule and document quarterly and annual planning meetings.
  • Let team members be the focus and primary contributor of meetings.

4. Have “quarterly conversations”

This is not a performance review. It should not be tied to salary or annual merit increases. The idea is to get together, ideally outside of the office, to have a one-hour conversation about what’s working and what’s not. Just simply start the conversation with “What is working and what’s not?” You both share your answers and talk it through.

  • Connect with direct reports at a higher level through Quarterly Conversations and Annual Reviews on-time, consistently.
  • Ensure team members feel valued by the care, openness and quality of these meetings.
  • Document the results and action items of both of these meetings.
  • Review the 5-5-5 (Rocks, Core Values, Roles) each quarter to get everyone on the same page and to capture lessons learned.

As a result of this time with your employees, you will make powerful course corrections and your relationship will improve.

5. Reward and recognize

Rewards and recognition reinforce desired behaviors. As leaders, we must look to reward and encourage the good and immediately address and correct issues.

  • Give timely feedback - both positive and constructive - within 24 hours. 
  • Immediately address cultural or performance issues.
  • Criticize privately and praise publicly. 
  • Use the three-strike rule for core value violations - document the first violation as a warning, the second as probation, and remove after the third.

In this way, you recognize both good and poor performance, handle issues professionally, and build an atmosphere of accountability and mutual respect.

The goal is always to bring out the best in your people and the team.

Accountability in Action - Activity/Assessment

Each quarter, ask the team these questions in a 1:1 to get their input on how you are doing.

  • List the number of direct reports you have. 
  • Answer each question giving a Yes if ALL direct reports can answer Yes to that question. 
  • Reminder - think only about your direct reports. All or nothing, if 1 is a NO, it’s a NO. No maybes or improvings. Its common for people to have a lot of No's the first time.
  • Then set a goal on when you will get to all Yes's.
  • Ask "Do I know how to get there?" and set SMART goals to chart a path.

The 5 leadership practices as questions:

Am I giving clear direction?

Am I providing the necessary tools?

Am I letting go of the vine?

Am I acting with the greater good in mind?

Am I taking Clarity Breaks?

The 5 management practices as questions:

Am I keeping expectations clear?

Am I communicating well?

Do I have the right meeting pulse?

Am I doing quarterly one-on-ones?

Am I rewarding and recognizing?

Leadership + Management = Accountability 

Implementing these EOS Leadership practices requires commitment, but the payoff is immense. By embracing empowered leadership and structured management, we can transform our culture.

  • Employees who feel genuinely valued and give their best each day. 
  • Teams fully engaged with a shared vision to rally behind. 
  • An organization that communicates openly, collaborates seamlessly, and delivers results.

Conclusion

Lead with compassion and manage with accountability. Show your employees you care about their growth by lending a helping hand when needed, but also getting out of their way to let them flourish. Set the right tone by ensuring your actions align with your words each day.

The principles we've discussed lay the foundation, and we lead by example. And day by day, we will build the kind of company we can be proud of. An organization where people are fulfilled, teams thrive, and great work gets done.

Learn more at EOS at Rocketfuel University.
Download more EOS tools

Thank you to Gino Wickman and Rene Boer for their work in creating the EOS methodology.

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