Your Crayons are Your Brand - What Color are They?

WYSIWYG: A Most Important Leader Attribute

WYSIWYG, or What You See Is What You Get, is most commonly an acronym referring to web content displayed during editing that appears very similar to the final output (as defined in Wikipedia).

I like "WYSIWYG" kind of people.  The personal attribute that comes closest to this acronym is  TRANSPARENCY.  I've been thinking a lot about this quality WYSIWYGlately.  Transparency, I believe, is one of the most prevalent characteristics in great leaders, yesterday and today.  It sprung to mind again this weekend with the passing of Walter Cronkite.  His iconic "That's the way it was..." nightly sign-off embodied an entire day, or a human story, or an experience in one simple sentence.  Mr. Cronkite was known and loved for being the real thing.  He took his job as a reporter seriously in his straight up, this-is-what-you-need-to-know style of imparting the world's news.  But, it was his most human, uncensored, and off-guard moments that made us trust him and allowed us to experience those milestones as Uncle Walter did on camera, in his most personal and embracing way.  As a kid of the 60's many of my young historical memories began by watching him appear in my family room every night and hearing his rendition of the "way it was."  And, it was his transparency that made him brilliant and real. 

The most effective leaders I have known and worked with over the years have been open and transparent, easily inviting others to take part in the conversation. 

Here are some tips on how to be an effective, transparent leader and communicator:

  • Regular Updates - be consistent in keeping team members and employees abreast of company/team news. Be thorough and open to feedback.
  • Encourage Talk - invite others to brainstorm and then champion their ideas and opinions.
  • Express Enthusiasm - it's okay to show some emotion over victories along the way.  It humanizes the situation and you.
  • Hold up a Mirror - it allows others to be transparent as well.
  • Keep an Open Door Policy - when people are comfortable, they trust you.
  • Know where your Integrity lies and Lead with it - integrity is the back bone of transparency.


Cronkite So, in honor of Uncle Walter, who also said:

"Our job is only to hold up the mirror - to tell and show the public what has happened..."

Show us your best WYSIWYG self!