Banking and Leadership – Have they missed the point?

The time for bankers to show any remorse for the failings that dragged the world into the worst recession since the Wall Street crash is “over”, the new boss of Barclays said yesterday, as the fury over the City’s forthcoming £7bn bonus binge grows.

An unrepentant Bob Diamond, who will collect a pay package worth about £8.5m this year, faced down his critics at the Treasury Select Committee. Asked if David Cameron or George Osborne had asked him during their meetings to show restraint over his own bonus, Mr Diamond said: “No.”

He also told MPs that he “resented” some of their lines of questioning.

Given that we are now in a global crisis generated by serial leadership failures by banks and regulators throughout the world which will effect individuals, companies and Nations; is this response congruent with a demonstration of real leadership?

Are banking leaders showing moral courage to stand up to the current criticism, or have they just missed the point? Alternatively, they may just not be skilled enough at putting their message across because public (now shareholders) opinion certainly seems to be hardening.

Whatever your view, it seems that the current banking model is under serious threat as the trust is further compromised.

The bedrock of good leadership is integrity, however, in a crisis situation, this also has to be clearly demonstrated if trust is to be maintained. Without trust, leadership and the led organisation is destined for failure at some point.

Clearly the actions and decisions taken over the next few months will be critical in moulding the future perceptions and shape of the banking industry.

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