Yes, you can teach someone to become a better leader. I truly see EOS® as a leadership development process because it forces leaders to step up and get uncomfortable.
A Leader’s Why
I say this with a caveat: a leader has to have the right motive. If their motive is to have power and boss people around, then they’ll never grow.
But if a leader takes their responsibility seriously and knows that people depend on them, that’s a good starting point. If they do things for the greater good of the company and not their own ego, then they have the right motive. These leaders can develop the skills to become better leaders, and EOS can help them.
Ingrained or Trained?
People argue whether a person just has great leadership ingrained in their DNA or if they can learn great leadership skills. That whole “nature versus nature” thing. Some people are just naturally gifted leaders, but that doesn’t mean that someone can’t learn to be like them.
Research has shown you can learn to become a better leader. I see EOS as a great system to teach leadership skills because it shows the gravity of leadership roles in an organization. Important leaderships trait are authenticity and honesty. EOS Implementers® stress the importance of open and honest leaders who encourage team health through their own vulnerability.
In every leadership seat in The Accountability Chart™, what always comes first? Lead, Manage, and hold people Accountable (LMA™). Why? Because it’s the most important role of that seat before all the others.
Learning to Let Go
I see it all the time.
When given a chance and the right tools, leaders nearly always learn how to step into their roles. By having hard conversations where the Visionary is willing to be vulnerable and let go, people rise to the occasion. And that surprises Visionaries. They see how much capacity they now have that they didn’t before.
Actually, one of two things happens: either the leader embraces and owns their role, or they run away. Those who run away weren’t ready for it. But those who stay and own the new responsibilities and are willing to learn can develop into better leaders.
Sometimes, organizations get stuck when EOS gets rolled out to the rest of the organization. Typically, I find it’s because the leadership team is unwilling to let go of tasks they should delegate to their mid-level managers. Yet mid-level managers are just as willing to step up as the leadership team members were when the Visionary lets go.
When companies run on EOS, we give them the tools to succeed as leaders. And by emphasizing LMA and holding mid-level manager workshops, these leaders flourish thanks to increased clarity of leadership roles and improved communication.
Let Me Lead
Change is hard. And the large majority of leadership teams experience change during the first two years of Running on EOS™. Some people rise through the ranks, some exit the leadership team (or company), and others change seats.
Here’s one example where change worked well. One of my clients is a father-son business. The father held the Visionary seat, and the son sat in the Integrator™ seat. But the son didn’t want the Integrator seat. He said he didn’t enjoy it because family dynamics caused unnecessary Visionary/Integrator™ clashes.
I didn’t think this Visionary father would willingly be vulnerable with his team, but he was. Eventually, he realized his limitations held back the organization and held his son back. He admitted it was hard for him to let go. But he saw that his son could better lead the business where it needed to go. I saw the father step up as a leader because he was willing to let go. And in turn, the son stepped up, both in life and in the business.
So, yes, even Visionary fathers who are set in their ways can become better leaders.