We as a nation should emphasise more on producing good leaders.
In a time of crisis, like we are in now, with people feeling frightened and uncertain, leadership does not just matter more. It matters exponentially more.
Frankly, the pandemic has been a test case for good and bad leadership.
In moments like these, when the choices we make are so impactful, people desperately want to believe that their leaders know what they are doing. But we quickly learned that in times like these, leaders either grow or swell.
Staying off-topic on domestic politics, let us look at the examples of Jacinda Ardern, the 39-year-old prime minister of New Zealand, who has successfully reopened the economy with zero coronavirus cases, whereas US President Donald Trump's responses to a nation in crisis have been tailed as strange and mostly ineffective.
By now we all must acknowledge that leadership does not naturally come from retaining positions of power.
While some political leaders have fallen short, the advent of the pandemic has also given rise to new leaders; may it be organisational, women, youth, or financial.
These leaders have risen to the moment, demonstrating resolve, courage, empathy, respect for science and elemental decency, and thereby dulling the impact of the disease on their people.
Organisational leaders played a big part in curbing the spread of the virus. Before the government's decision of locking down the economy to contain the virus, organisational leaders rose to the occasion and adapted work-from-home policy and ensured a safety net for members of its organisation, with some increasing the salaries of their employees so that the workforce remained motivated to work during this crisis.
The youth community, the next generation leaders entailing students, graduates, young professionals, however, emerged as a force to reckon during Covid-19. Keeping engagement alive in a crisis takes commitment but creating opportunities is all about leadership.
They have been present, visible, and available during the crisis in ways that sets examples for us to follow in the future.
The women leaders of the nation probably had risen to the occasion more than any other members of the community. Balancing multiple facets of responsibilities both personal, professional, societal, and economical, the women leaders of our country in every profession have effectively led their community members to the best of their abilities. As a society, we need to see women as leaders—and we need to enable women to be leaders for there to be more like Jacinda Ardern and Sheikh Hasina.
Diverse people are guiding and inspiring one another to accomplish remarkable things together- that is what we need. It is been effective.
Last but not least, let us not forget about the financial leaders of the nation. Even the government's incentive package that will be keeping the economy alive, is very much dependent on financial leaders of the nation. It is their philanthropy and innovation, which has allowed us to avail financial tools to keep the economy running. The survival of the industrial sectors, the SMEs are very much on their hands, and so far we have been breathing.
But in all fairness, let us face the truth; there was no "handbook" for leadership when the stakes went up and there is certainly no walkthroughs for countering a 21st-century pandemic. No matter how effective our leaders were yesterday, you will find that today and tomorrow are likely to make new and different demands on them as a leader.
And that is why we need to focus on creating good and effective leaders. Imagine if we had all our leaders who were prepared to reinvent and adapt.
The good news is there is so much information out there that is vital to developing leaders. Going beyond just watching the TV news, webinars can be a good source where knowledge is showcased for learning.
Guardian Life Insurance's 'Lead Speak' Webinar series designed for developing future leaders and to assist the current leaders through the coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic and associated disruptions have completed its first 4 series through digital platforms.
This was an initiative of Lighthouse Bangladesh, with the association of Guardian Life Insurance, and in collaboration with Digi-tech Communication, Brand Mania and CThreeSixty, the Webinar series to bring in Industry Experts and Thought Leaders as panellists who provided insight on all aspects of leadership.
Successful leaders and industry experts like Shehzad Munim, the Managing Director of BAT Bangladesh, M M Monirul Alam Tapan, the Managing Director of Guardian Life Insurance Limited, and other pragmatic leaders have shared their insightful knowledge.
If nothing else, the Covid-19 crisis may show us what kind of leaders know how to face an unprecedented crisis. A leader should treat this COVID-19 crisis as a defining moment for themselves, the organisation, and the economy. It is time to develop leaders of the nation to broaden their horizon amid the unprecedented crisis and to shape the leaders of tomorrow.
Let us learn, step up, and lead accordingly!
The writer is communication, social, youth and women enabler professional, executive director of Concito PR, co-founder of CThreeSixty Pte Ltd, CEO of Women Empowerment and Development Organisation (WEDO), and trustee of Bangladesh Cancer Aid Trust (BANCAT).