Are you a WYSIWYG boss? - Preparing you for the future of work.

Are you a WYSIWYG boss?

Do you find that you can attract talent but battle to keep it?

Are you disillusioned by the talent that joins your department or team but hops to another company before you’ve managed to get any productivity out of them?

Sure, younger workers are a lot more mobile and a lot less loyal, but maybe the problem is closer to home than you think.

Companies which care about their people spend a truck load of money getting the office environment looking cool, getting the company culture just right, getting the working conditions to everybody’s liking, ensuring that everyone gets an sms from the CEO on their birthdays only to find that the organisation still bleeds talent at a frightening rate.

They spend hundreds of thousands, possibly millions, on their employer branding to make sure that employees think the company they work for is something to be proud of. They invest heavily in training their talent to show them that they really want to see them growing and acquiring the right skills, but the talent STILL leaves them – often once they’ve finished the training.

Executives decide they want to get to the bottom of the problem. They get into a holy huddle in the board room, they go on a bosberaad to a far away game lodge to thrash out the problem. They return with lots of smart (and expensive) ideas to stop the bleeding, but nothing helps.

Having scratched their heads so much, the only thing they lose faster than their talent is their hair. So they give up, shrug their shoulders and think that it’s just a fact of life that they’re going to have to live with.  

Sometimes, we fail to see what the real cause of the problem is because it’s just too blindingly obvious. The blindingly obvious fact is that, while all the retention tricks and tools are important, research shows that employees don’t leave companies, they leave their supervisors or managers.

Yes, it might be as simple as that. Your company may be throwing away millions because you have possibly failed to see that the people in management positions – who have the greatest influence in your talent’s lives – are just not nice people, who are people who have bad interpersonal skills, who are grumpy and insecure and who consequently operate according to personal agendas that have absolutely nothing to do with getting the most out of the talent they are supposed to manage.

Answer this question: do YOU LIKE your boss? If not, why not? Your answer will be revealing. Now let’s get a little more personal … if you manage people, do you think those people actually LIKE you?

Be honest. I’m not talking about whether they respect your position or comply with your instructions, or whether they speak politely to you. I’m asking if you can say with certainty that your people actually LIKE you. If they don’t, you’re not going to keep them long.

If you want to be liked as a boss, you have to demonstrate a genuine interest in the people you manage. While you have a responsibility to act in a professional manner, you have to be prepared to show the “real you” to the people who report to you, to show them that, because of your authenticity and integrity, what they see is what they get (WYSIWYG).

When you start being a WYSIWYG boss, you may find that people will WANT to work for you and with you, and that your staff retention spikes. This applies to the whole organisation.

There’s no need to compromise standards – people understand and respect the need to maintain standards, but you can do so in a way that ensures that you’re liked. And that’s being a smart boss – who retains talent and saves the company tons of money as well as gets a whole lot of productivity out of those reporting to them!

Alan Hosking is the Publisher of HR Future magazine,, @HRFuturemag. He is a recognised authority on leadership skills for the future and teaches business leaders and managers of all generations how to lead with integrity, purpose and agility. He was named by US-based web site as one of the "Top 25 Future of Work Influencers to Follow on Twitter".


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