March 24, 2020

Lead by Example, during the times of Covid-19 pandemic

Amit Trivedi
Owner, Karmayog Knowledge Academy

Lead by Example, during the times of Covid-19 pandemic

The theme of the NetworkFP 2020 National conference was “Lead by Example”. There were many insightful sessions, and we had a magazine full of articles elaborating on the theme.

I had written an article for the magazine quoting a shlok from the Bhagwad Geeta. The same is reproduced for a quick reference.

Bhagwad Gita Shlok

The meaning is: Whatever action great (Shrestha) people perform, common people follow the same. The world pursues the standards the greats set.

The real leaders stand up in times of great difficulties. And the current times are among the toughest that our generation might have seen. We are in the middle of a global pandemic. The future of many remains uncertain. Economists are not talking about growth. Rather, there are discussions about the severity of recessions.

These are the times when companies start taking cost-cutting measures. History suggests that during the economic downturns and recessions, the first ones to lose their jobs are the low-income workers. The seniors seldom lose their jobs. At worst, they only take a pay cut, which is eventually normalized as soon as situations improve.

It is in these times that a leader must stand up and set an example – or lead by example. And, on 20th March we came across three such examples:

1.  Rajiv BajajNewspaper cutting, Managing Director of Bajaj Auto Ltd. made a big announcement: I will cut my salary to zero before a single employee is laid off.” This was a very bold statement and gives a lot of confidence to the employees of the company. It is an indication of commitment by a leader towards the well-being of the employees.

2. The second example came from the CEO of the global hotel chain Marriott International, Arne Sorenson. In his speech delivered with a grey coloured world map in the background, Sorenson announced that both he and the Marriott Executive Chairman Mr. Bill Marriott Jr. will receive no salary for the rest of the year 2020, and the Marriott International executive team will take 50 percent pay cuts.

3. The third came from the Tatas. Mr. Chandrasekharan, the CEO of Tata Sons announced that all Tata companies would ensure full payment to all the temporary staff and daily wage earners.

As the situation continued to worsen, more leaders have come forward. Mahindra & Mahindra announced that they would start manufacturing ventilators at their plants to ensure the shortage is not felt. Sir H N Reliance Foundation Hospital in collaboration with BMC has set up a 100 bed dedicated COVID-19 hospital, which is first of such kind in India. Reliance Industries Limited (RIL) has announced a slew of measures to fight the deadly coronavirus (COVID-19) including setting up India’s first dedicated COVID-19 hospital, special quarantine facilities, importing additional test kits and enhancing its production capacities to produce 1,00,000 face-masks per day.

These are just a few of the examples. There are many others that have come forward. All these are leaders, who chose to lead by example. And, going by the Bhagwad Geeta shlok we referred earlier, such acts should encourage other corporate leaders to come forward and absorb the pain themselves instead of passing it on to the employees at lower levels.

At our level too, we can take the lead and ensure that the junior staff in our offices, and the contractors and daily wagers around us are taken care of, as much as possible.

May God give us all the strength we need to fight this war. Together we can, and we will.

3 Thoughts to “Lead by Example, during the times of Covid-19 pandemic”

  1. Sujatha A says:

    Well articulated and hope this enables many to open up and come up voluntarily taking timely steps as is the need of the hour.

    Let us all act as responsible human beings and citizens.

  2. Balajee B R says:

    Good article.
    While Leadership quality is in every one of us, it’s good time now to identify, nurture and showcase the same, as applicable. It’s all about asking yourself time and again – How can I make the situation better, for others ? The best in oneself should be brought out, only, in a crunch situation. Good luck.

  3. Thanks Trivedi Sir for sharing it. We really appreciate it, particularly
    its relevant in this scenario.

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