The Importance of Honesty in Leadership

Creating a successful business venture takes so many different things. Take, for instance, Charles E Phillips Infor CEO. He didn’t start at that position, but had to work incredibly hard for it. He started in the U.S. Air Force, where he completed a BS in Computer Science. He then moved to the U.S. Marines, where he was a Captain, and completed his MBA. Once out of the army, he also completed a JD, before starting to work on Wall Street. Snapped up by Morgan Stanley, he quickly climbed through their ranks and became their Managing Director. Through his Wall Street contacts, he landed a job as President of Oracle, before finally resigning there to become Infor CEO, a position he has now held for several years. He has followed a clear path and direction: education, experience, and hard work. So what can we learn from Phillips?

First of all, creating a successful business venture starts by having a fantastic idea and then building a team around that idea. That is exactly what he did with Infor, completely changing its executive team, including snapping up some other people from Oracle. He didn’t reinvent the wheel, that is almost impossible in today’s day and age. In fact, those who hope to invent something or come up with something completely new tend to be seen as nothing but dreamers.

Powerful leaders like Charles Phillips also understand the stress associated with being in a startup. There is always a worry that things won’t quite work out. What sets a leader apart, however, is that they don’t let these fears affect their team. They know how to calm themselves down, take a few deep breaths, and remind themselves that they have earned their positions.

So what is the one main quality that every good leader should embody? According to people like Phillips, it is honesty.

The Importance of Honesty

Different people travel on different ethical planes. Regardless of that, however, leaders hold the responsibility over a whole team of people, which means they have to truly raise the bar to its highest possible level. Employees and the business as a whole are a reflection of the individual leader. Hence, if a leader is honest and ethical, and sets this as the key value in their personal behavior, others will follow suit and the company with it.

Good companies have a list of core values and beliefs ready that people can turn to again and again. For Infor, it is a simple one: no fugly software. This is seen all through the New York headquarter to remind people that what they create is a thing of beauty. What Phillips also does is make sure that being healthy is at the forefront in the office, and that people have a healthy work-life balance. In fact, Phillips personally chose everyone on his management and executive team, picking people with whom he can actually have a dinner with, away from the office, thereby creating a work atmosphere that is friendly at all times.