Mindless transparency, mindless leadership: Silicon Valley Bank lessons
Joshua Awesome is a Coaching Psychologist/Executive and Business Performance Coach who has supported over 100,000 professionals across Africa and the globe. He can be reached via: Joshua@theawesomecoach.com
March 20, 2023141 views0 comments
As a human flourishing specialist, I would like to offer a psychological perspective on the situation described in the quote and the collapse of Silicon Valley Bank. In the Igbo Nation, Diochi’s practice of not telling everything he sees on top of the palm tree is a cultural norm that promotes discretion and respect for privacy. This practice is important because it recognizes the complexity of human experience and the need to balance transparency with discretion.
In the case of Silicon Valley Bank, the CEO’s decision to be unusually transparent about the bank’s challenges was a tragic mistake that demonstrated a lack of understanding of the expectations of his role. As a banker, his responsibility is to balance transparency with discretion to maintain the confidence of stakeholders and protect the interests of the bank. By being too transparent, he exposed the bank to unnecessary risk and undermined its credibility.
It is important to note that transparency is not an absolute virtue. While it is essential for promoting trust and accountability, it must be balanced with other values, such as discretion, privacy, and confidentiality. Leaders must exercise judgment and discernment in deciding when to be transparent and when to exercise discretion. Transparency should not be used as a substitute for effective leadership, but rather as a tool to support it.
As Professor Ekwekwe notes, Diochi’s role is not only to see everything on top of the palm tree but also to exercise judgment in deciding when to speak and when to remain silent. Similarly, leaders must learn to balance transparency with discretion to promote the flourishing of their organisations and the people they serve.
Mindful leadership involves cultivating awareness, attention, and intention in one’s leadership practice. It requires leaders to pay attention to their thoughts, feelings, and actions and to act intentionally in alignment with their values and goals. In contrast, mindless leadership is characterized by a lack of awareness and intention, resulting in impulsive, reactive, or ineffective actions.
The collapse of Silicon Valley Bank provides an example of the consequences of mindless leadership. The CEO’s decision to be excessively transparent about the bank’s challenges demonstrates a lack of awareness of the impact of his words and actions. He failed to consider the potential consequences of his disclosures on the bank’s stakeholders and the broader financial community.
To take a mindful leadership dive, leaders can learn from the lessons of Silicon Valley Bank’s collapse. First, leaders must cultivate awareness of their thoughts, emotions, and behaviours and their impact on others. They must be attuned to the needs and expectations of their stakeholders and balance transparency with discretion.
Second, leaders must act with intention and purpose, aligning their actions with their values and goals. They must prioritize the long-term health and sustainability of their organisations over short-term gains or personal interests.
Third, leaders must develop the skills of effective communication, including active listening, empathetic engagement, and clear and concise messaging. They must communicate transparently and authentically while also being mindful of the potential impact of their words and actions.
In summary, the collapse of Silicon Valley Bank provides a cautionary tale of the dangers of mindless leadership. Leaders must cultivate awareness, intention, and effective communication to promote the flourishing of their organisations and the people they serve.
Here’s a reflective Question, I would have asked you, dear leaders, if I was your executive coach, conscious leadership facilitator or Strategy retreat consultant; in conclusion:
In what ways can you cultivate a mindful approach to leadership that balances transparency with discretion and promotes the long-term health and sustainability of your organisation?
It would be an honour to support you, your organisation from a crisis you might not see, but may emerge in time as I always say that “time is a revealer of everything”. Peace and abundant blessings.
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