How to Be a Great Boss

How to Be a Great Boss, Gino Wickman and Rene Boer, (Dallas: BenBella Books, 2016).

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How to Be a Great Boss Synopsis

Gino Wickman teams up with Rene Boer to co-author How to Be a Great Boss. The book talks about the characteristics that make up a great boss and provides readers with the tools to cultivate these characteristics. Ultimately, the ability to be a great boss is a conscious decision, namely, leaders need to want to be a great boss in order to become one. Once they know that they want to be great, the supporting tools will help them elevate their leadership style to bring the best out of themselves and their team members.

Key idea #1 – Characteristics of a great boss

Wickman and Boer believe that all great leaders have the following characteristics:

Get It – The individual intuitively understands what the responsibilities are of a supervisory role.

Want it – The individual genuinely holds a deep desire to be a great boss.

Capacity to do it – this last characteristic is around whether the individual has the capabilities to be a great boss. These capabilities are emotional empathy, critical thinking capabilities, physical energy, and self-discipline.

The capacity to be a great boss can be cultivated through learning and practice. The other two characteristics, however, are completely innate to the individual. Individuals either have it or they don’t.

Key idea #2 – Delegate and elevate

Being a great boss requires time. In order to find time, managers should identify which activities they can delegate to others and which they should continue doing. The book proposes a process for outlining a managers’ tasks. The steps are as follows:

  1. Write down all business tasks. Group them by daily, weekly, and monthly.
  2. Verify if there are missing tasks – compare the list with the EOS list.
  3. For each task, categorize it into one of the following buckets:
    • Love doing + Great at
    • Like doing + Good at
    • Don’t Like + Good at
    • Don’t Like + Not good at

When the majority of the tasks fall into the first two categories, there is a high chance that you will be a great boss. Additionally, if you are unable to finish all the business tasks on the list, this indicates that you are time-constrained. Thus, you need to delegate.

Key idea #3 – People

When it comes to people, the key belief in the EOS is “the Right People in the Right Seats.” Right People refers to those who fit the organization’s culture and embody the core values. Right Seats refers to the role which enables employees to do what they are best at and what they are most passionate about.

Additionally, EOS provides a three-strike rule for subordinates who consistently fail to meet expectations. In the first occurrence, managers should meet with the individual, identify the problem, and collective reach an agreement on the corrective actions.

Key idea #4 – Leadership + Management = Accountability

The authors’ tout that accountability is the result of leadership and management. Leadership occurs when one is working “on” the business by establishing the vision. This includes providing a clear direction of where the business needs to go and facilitating an environment for people to execute. Management is what happens when someone is working in the business on activities that help gain traction. This includes providing clear expectations by communicating in an effective manner and making sure things are done.

How to be a great boss Info e1600316214445

Gino Wickman and Rene Boer

Gino Wickman is an American entrepreneur and founder of the Entrepreneurial Operating System®. He started his first business at 21, laying the foundation for him to take over a family business. Wickman shares his insights and learnings in EOS with budding and seasoned entrepreneurs.

Rene Boer is a restaurant franchise with over 30 years of experience in the restaurant industry. He has lead teams at well-known brands such as Pizza Hut and Burger King. He is also a Certified EOS Implementer.

Key takeaways

  • A great boss intuitively gets the supervisory role, innately desires to be a great boss, and possess the capacity to be great.
  • Being a great boss takes time. Thus, leaders should delegate as needed in order to free up time to pursue greatness.
  • Accountability is the result of leadership with management.
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