positivity during covid-19

Positivity during this crisis

The Covid-19 pandemic has put a lot of strain on business leaders and professional managers. Companies are facing the most serious crisis where laying off or furloughing employees has become a necessity not a choice. As the economy takes major body blows and job security becomes uncertain for managers it is natural for their anxiety to be knowingly or unknowingly transmitted to the employees down the line. Being in a lockdown for more than a month with no light at the end of the tunnel naturally also creates stress. No one is sure about what s(he) is supposed to do or how s(he) is supposed to do it. In such times  how well we are able to adapt and navigate through this adversity is a test of our capability and leadership.

When things are not in our own control the worst thing we can do is to beat up ourselves by worrying and having negative thoughts. Calamities and adversities are a part of life and when we are faced with difficult circumstances which are not of our own doing and over which we do not have any control then the best thing we can do is accept them as divine intervention. Negative emotions are not only bad for one’s own physical, emotional and mental health they also affect everyone around us. Strong leadership is very important during such crises and an optimistic attitude is absolutely necessary to keep both ourselves and our team feeling positive and motivated.

What do we do if we want our car to be in the best shape? We take care of the car. Continuing the same logic, if we want to be in the best shape to handle this crisis, we need to take care of ourselves. If we are not in the best shape then we cannot be effective in facing this challenging situation. For good physical health make sure you are getting enough sleep. Since you have the spare time now, get into the habit of exercising regularly. Eat well and maintain a good healthy diet. Build up your immunity by taking a high dosage of vitamin C and also take vitamin D and zinc supplements. For your mental health read good books; indulge in a creative hobby like writing poetry or challenge your mind playing games like chess. For your emotional health do a lot of ibadat and fasting in the month of Ramadan or practice some other form of meditation.

One of the painful aspects of this time is that we are in a limbo. Whatever plans we made or the targets we had set for ourselves and our team are not relevant at the moment and we are not able to do anything. It is like being paralyzed. This is the time to regroup and reflect on the greater purpose of our life than just the material pursuits. Our professional and material pursuits are just one part of our life. For the ambitious go getters this may be a very important part of life but there is much more to life than our material pursuits. In our busy lives we tend to overlook those other important aspects. Now is the opportunity to focus on them. Catching up with old friends and relatives; devoting more quality time to the family at home; participating in some social work are all examples of activities which nourish the soul that is so much in need of nourishment in these difficult times.

If we look at the challenges of the pandemic through the window of worry and frustration, this will be a very hard experience. Why not see it as an opportunity to innovate and be creative? Why not make use of this time to improve the relationship with your team members and to train and mentor them? Everybody is feeling nervous and anxious now; this is the best time for mentoring and guiding your team. With Zoom and Skype holding meetings remotely is so much more convenient than holding physical meetings. Boredom also gives rise to anxiety and worry. Even if one is facing financial worries due to being laid off or furloughed it is best to try to be engaged in positive activities to avert boredom. Apart from our everyday operational functions related to our specific job, every manager should also have a parallel role in constantly improving the way his/her organization functions. It may be acceptable if a junior officer just does his specific job function as he is told but for mid and senior level managers and indeed the owners of companies a very important function is to constantly work on improving the organization. Any mid or senior level manager who is just good at doing his specific job and does not contribute towards the improvement of the organization is not a complete professional in my opinion. There are so many things that can be improved in any organization. If constant improvements are not made then the organization becomes stale and gradually becomes irrelevant. The concept of Kaizen in Japanese management is about constantly making little improvements in the organization. Kaizen is not about big ground breaking innovations that happen once in a while. It is about making everyday little improvements which over time add up to significantly change the organization for the better.

What are the improvements that can be brought to your company and how can you be a part of this process? Can your company be made paperless to a greater of lesser extent? Can you take the lead in this initiative? Can you come up with a new marketing plan to boost sales during the recession? What are the pain points for your customer? Can you bring about some policy changes which would address those customer pain points? There is so much that can be done. The lockdown is not a deterrent to taking up these organizational improvement initiatives; it is the most appropriate time to think and act on such matters. Meetings can be held on Zoom or Skype to discuss these plans with your team. During our normal busy life we do not have the opportunity to think about these things. Now is the perfect opportunity. Not only will this work be beneficial for your company, such initiatives create bonding amongst the team members and help fight boredom for everyone. At bti we have a HR development program called the “Knowledge Club” (KC). It has voluntary participation. In normal times we have an attendance of about 60 people in the weekly KC sessions. During this lockdown we have more than 100 people voluntarily attending the KC sessions on Zoom. The participation could possibly be even bigger but there is a maximum to the number of people that can be accommodated on Zoom meetings. This goes to show the desire people have to make better and more productive use of their time. Having a sense of purpose and achieving something is very important during such times.

Of course it is very difficult to feel optimistic amidst this gloom and the depressing news that we constantly hear on the television and read in the newspapers. Some doomsday advocates are already talking about the next wave which is supposed to come in the fall season and some are talking about this pandemic lasting for at least another two years. But why should we worry about all these unknowns? Let us force ourselves to think positively. No matter how long it stays or how many lives are lost to this pandemic, Covid-19 or any other virus will not be able to defeat mankind. This is just another crisis in which our resolve and resilience will be tested. We are all in the same boat. When this storm is over we will pick up the pieces and there will be a plethora of new opportunities for us to make up for the ones that we may lose during this crisis.

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Comments (15)
  • Sir, this article obviously make us thinking how to make life easier.

  • I support all of your positive thoughts in this critical situation.
    I hope you are the only chairman of real estate companies try to improve bonding in between company’s and customers.

    Thanks a lot

    • I believe that post Corona world will open up new opportunities in the field of civil engineering such as revised sitting arrangements in offices, keeping larger access points and common areas in apartment and commercial buildings considering social distances etc.

  • Always power of positivity try to develop leadership. I accept it. I always try to make better today then yesterday. People most of the time think about what they want, and how to get it. In this way developing a positive attitude can truly change entire life.

  • Being calm, confident and compassionate is required to come out strong from here. Though being calm is not easy at this situation as you implied. Being confident from seeing through with minimal hurt of the business and compassionate for all its stakeholders is the key. Communication to strengthen collaboration among teams and different stakeholders is to be continued, stronger than before. You have rightfully said and practicing it. We are following you. Your blog is an invaluable piece of guidelines for many of us professionally and personally.
    Spirituality, you mentioned a little about it here, can be a very big stress releiver and shaper. Spirituality teaches us to trust and not to loose hope.

    • Good description. Good ideas. Good forcast.
      A good leader will definitely overcome the storm.

  • The expected positive, motivational and useful thoughts of my IDOL.

  • I impressed by the positivity of your writing and simultaneously highlighting the negative aspects.
    Keep writing.
    Love it.

  • Sir It’s really motivating. if I manifest what I have learned is that “Think positive be positive”. I have one request to you please write something for the job losers of our country for the upshot Pandemic of COVID-19. Hope you will think it positively.

  • This is very useful and motivating speech in this crisis moment. Thanks to initiator for this special initiative in this crisis moment. Hope to more hear from you.

  • Your words and thoughts are perfectly in sync with mine. Yes, we can sink in doom and gloom. But, who will that help ? It will only destroy us and our colleagues/friends/family. We are helpless in the fact that we cannot change destiny. However, we can adapt and deal with it in a positive way. Yes, sometimes, we do buckle down and worry. But, we cannot make that a routine. We have to strategize more and more now. We have to look at all possibilities where we can increase our business, employ more technology and learn to work smart, instead of working hard. I know myself, that I am far busier than I was in the ‘normal’ days. Of course I have my worries, finance being at the forefront, but instead of worrying, I am trying to focus more on Post CoVid than on the dreary present. Here, in Canada, we are in total lockdown. Ramadan, etc. But the days pass like the wind. Hardly get time to finish what I started. Because now, the possibilities are so significantly increased to look out of new windows, get in touch with family, relatives, friends and of course colleagues every other day. Mind you, I have my fair share, or I like to think, more than my share of problems at the moment. But, we have to have faith and carry on. All things pass and this too will pass, InshaAllah.
    Also, I tell my friends not to send me doomsday messages on WhatsApp, as that doesn’t help anyone.
    Thank you, Dosto, for another well written article. Onwards & Upwards !
    May Allah keep everyone safe and lift this Azab from us soon. Ameen.

  • Positive thinking, patience invigorate to fight against adversity.

    • Your positivity inspired me. Yes. We should think in that way.

  • Mr. Arshi Haider is born leader in the developers industries by his own merits & bti is the live example. No wonder how bti has reached to this level of heights . This kind of motivational note is very well required at this kind of pandemic situation in the world. Thanking you Mr. A. Haider.
    Your Very small Client since 2004.
    Regards, Murtuza KARIM

  • Dear Sir:

    Started following your write-ups very recently, but within a very short time became an ardent lover of your candor and pragmatic approach to depict the business issues. I have found a deep insight and holistic approach to look into the issues in the most positive ways to address the worst case scenarios as well. For your long experience in business, where risk & return are the two sides of the same coin, it is highly instrumental & inspirational to uphold the moral of the associates and strive to the utmost level as per everyone’s capacity.

    Amidst such a labyrinth, only way to stay well is to “force ourselves to think positively”. have I picked up this punch line from your writing in search of excellence at my personal level. In my career so far, I have never got such an opportunity to stay so close to the family members constantly for a period that is passing now a days. A wonderful thing, I have experienced during this period of staying home. Initially, we had been full of the uncertainties and ambiguities with the outbreak of COVID 19 in Bangladesh and same was cascaded down to our children as well. Things started getting normal as we started taking it positively with the progress of time. As we started to pick-up learning new things to make the best use of time & resources available and same was also reciprocated to the children. Never had we got such an uninterrupted scope to align our body, mind & emotions for the wellbeing of us & people around. I’m sure, this will teach our children to be more resilient and solution seeker to the adversities they may encounter in their upcoming days.

    Same goes to organizational set-up as well. When the steering house, look into the issues with utmost positivity, it trickles-down to the top & mid-level employees to focus on business issues from ownership point of view. As we are in operations, we remain charged up with the ongoing day to day activities mostly. That makes very difficult to be engrossed ourselves with absolute mindfulness to the business plan from a longer time perspective and also from other functional point of views; apart from one’s own. Better to take this time period as an intervention from divinity to the professionals like us to redesign our thinking irrespective of our core areas of competencies and look in the possibilities to build knowledge & skills required in other functional areas as well. So that top and mid-level professionals may also have a holistic approach to look into the business issues.

    I’m delighted to know about the ‘’knowledge club” concept. Companies with learning hats and with the quickest execution hands would be most advantageous situation to grab the opportunities that would emerge in the market.

    I’m also passionate to the spirit you described. Let’s trust our hopes not our fears.

    Best Regards

    Imran

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