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Honesty unfolds in the shadow of leadership

Rosangela Guerra

Director of Lincoln México, Puerto Rico and the Caribbean


“Honesty is the soul of leadership and of life itself, which is reflected, first and foremost, in the
way you act, always being the first example.”

Honesty, a word we hear constantly, with an importance and impact on our lives that is sometimes impossible to measure.

Since we were children, we have listened to morals that teach us the power of truth and the consequences of lies. With stories and fables, our parents instill in us the human values to become ethical and moral people, starting with honesty, with which we are taught to act with truth, sincerity and integrity in what we say, feel and do.

In my opinion, it is honesty, combined with talent, that leads to success.

The fact that Pinceladas de Líderes Empresariales dedicates a chapter to this topic excites me, challenges me and motivates me to write and transmit the importance of this value with which we should all act, but in which we rarely manage to go deeper.

I am inspired that these letters help raise awareness of the strength and power of honesty to make tomorrow’s leaders the wealth of the future.

The term honesty, coming from the Latin “honesti “tas”, which refers to decency, reason, what is fair, straight or honest, is the value and quality that allows people to act not only according to their own interests or desires, but in a correct manner and aligned at all times to the truth. This value was so important for ancient Rome that, in their worldview, they deposited this quality in a deity: Sancus, god of loyalty and honesty. As the god of oaths and contracts, the ritual in his temple required speaking “in the open”, in full view of the other gods, a way of being transparent at the moment of making a promise or closing a deal.

It is this quality, the key to success, both personally and in any business, to become a better leader and thus guide those who will succeed us tomorrow to make this a better world.

For me, in my life, both as a person and as a leader, I could sum it up in one sentence: “Honest leaders translate into healthy, prosperous and successful organizations. The success of a brand or business, no matter what its core business is, is based on trust in its products, in its team and, therefore, in the trust generated among consumers, and this is achieved with honesty, by acting with integrity and transparency, being consistent between what is said and what is done.

Honesty is the soul of leadership and of life itself, which is reflected, first of all, in the way you act, always being the first example; followed by the way you approach your collaborators, the way you treat them, the development you promote in your team, even in the way you do business with your partners, in a transparent and sincere way. It is these actions that build trust in your personal brand over the years, allowing you to tell a complete story that reflects and highlights your effort; that story and reality in which you are able to accept that you do not know everything, that you have mistakes, but that in turn, you have the ability to see introspectively and continuously improve, being this, in my opinion, the best translation of honesty, of that value, rule and longest-lived quality that unfolds in the shadow of leadership.

In my day-to-day life, this rule of life is a key piece, since it not only impacts me as a person, but also my team, the company, the clients, the industry in which I work and my environment in general.

This text seeks to be a guide for honest leaders who seek to accompany the growth of their collaborators and show coherence between their actions and their thoughts, actions that define them as beings of integrity, who seek the splendor of truth.
It is this way of acting that helps me to empower my team, motivate them to grow and overcome their limits in a dignified and responsible way, guide them to make the best decisions, leaving aside both fears and self-interest, and do it in the right way that allows our clients to trust us.

Those who seek respect and trust need to be honest, positive and value the integrity of each person. An honest leader is not the one who is perfect, but the one who knows he is perfectible and has the ability to accept it, who identifies his strengths, but at the same time recognizes his weaknesses and channels them in the best way.

And it is with this that I look for my team members to be honest and be able to recognize their mistakes, and at the same time know that every mistake makes us grow and opens opportunities, developing creativity. In my opinion, the most important mission of honesty in a company is to prevent mistakes from becoming a snowball of endless problems that grows and grows when you are not honest with yourself or with your team when faced with a mistake or a situation that is out of your hands.

As the leader of a team and of an internationally renowned brand, it has been essential to create an environment in which everyone feels safe to say what is required and needed, especially if something is not going well, and also to know how to ask for help to build a constructive and cooperative culture, where not only the effort and success of a single person is recognized, but where the team effort is applauded as a whole, where each member who was part of the road to success, knows that it was forged based on effort and resilience, because this is also how honesty can be celebrated.

Building trust in your team requires honesty, it is impossible to know everything or have all the answers, and therefore, it is important to involve them, ask them and ask for their help to solve every situation. An honest leader builds and recognizes in his team his main strength to use the knowledge and experience of each one and create a healthy, trustworthy and transparent work culture.

Because for me, a leader is able to motivate his team and inspire them to improve themselves, trust them and take risks to innovate and not be afraid to experiment as a team, either to be victorious or to recognize, correct and learn from mistakes, because even the latter are the ones that at the end of the story will lead us to success.

Any CEO and president of a company will appreciate a supervisor, manager, director or leader who helps the organization have more transparency. They will be just as grateful as a consumer who rides safely in their car, or one who consumes a product with the confidence that the brand is guided by honesty. And just as any person, friend or family member will be loyal to sincerity.

And no, it is not about going through life saying how honest you are, but to be upright, transparent and act in this way to achieve your objectives, to exceed your goals in a satisfactory manner, but above all to be good with yourself at all times knowing that you are conducting yourself in a coherent way between your words and your actions.

It is with honesty that I have forged a career of more than 20 years, but it is with the same honesty that both the company and the brand I represent have built a legacy over more than 100 years, allowing each of us in this company to build trust in people, not because we are perfect, but because we are honest.

As Henry Ford said: “There is no shame in honest failure; there is shame in fear of failure”.

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