Monday, February 26, 2024

Emotionally yours

Sarwar Ahmed
Late at night, my mobile phone beeped with an SMS alert. I was startled and then enthused by the content: Sorry, my mom was around. I’ll talk to you tomorrow. Please don’t get mad at me. Love you too.
Poor thing. She must have been in a hurry to send this text and fumbled with wrong numbers with her mother hovering around.
When it comes to business, we frown on such starry eyed displays of emotions. Business is all about being cold hearted, cool thinking and rational decision-making; there is no place for emotions.
Interestingly, it is exactly the opposite that makes a business tick. If you want your associates to go the extra mile, emotions are needed to make that happen. As much as we down play the importance of emotions, it is this essential human ingredient that makes us different, special and do things impossible.
In the work place, our emotions unfold around our boss’ behaviour, company culture and colleagues. Our bosses not only impact our lives, they also set the tone for company culture.
A recent McKinsey article by Stanford management Professor Bob Sutton states that bosses matter because many studies show that for more than 75 percent of employees, dealing with their immediate boss is the most stressful part of the job. Lousy bosses can kill you, literally.
A 2009 Swedish study tracking 3,122 men for ten years found that those with bad bosses suffered 20 to 40 percent more heart attacks than those with good bosses. Senior executives’ actions can reverberate throughout organisations, ultimately undermining or bolstering their cultures and performance levels.
Sutton says, as the boss, you are the most important person in the organisation, and subordinates monitor, magnify, and mimic your every move. You need to stay in tune with this relentless attention and use it to your advantage. You need to create a company culture where you, as a leader, need to boost your associates’ performance by boldly defending their backs, making it possible for them to learn, take intelligent risks and feel pride and dignity along the way.
A major reason a person leaves an organisation is not because of money; it is their boss’ behaviour. With the scarcity of talent, we cannot just shrug it off if key people leave our organisation, and that too, because of events that are under our control.
Is this a tough call? Not at all. As a boss and a leader, first of all, you need to be really aware of our own behaviour. You are the role model. As such, you need to exude a sense of enthusiasm and positive energy. This will ripple down your organisation. This is true anywhere in the organisation, especially first level leaders who have their troops bringing in the revenue flow or providing services, and keeping customers satisfied, happy.
Another great way of evoking emotions to work for you is to tell stories. Story telling was the means of communication and preserving history before writing was invented. Thus, story telling is in our genes.
Even our three-year-old son will go to sleep every night only after he hears a story, especially as he is the protagonist of it. What kind of stories should we tell in our corporate lives? Look at all the successful things that happen in your organisation and share it as a story. This not only brings pride, but also creates cultural values.
For example, I tell the story of one of our colleagues, Jalaluddin Saber, who was bringing our products from Chittagong in a truck during the floods of 1988. Having reached Meghna Ghat, which was without a bridge then, he found the ferries moored, unwilling to risk the turbulent waters. The river had turned into a vast sea with the other bank hardly in sight. Moreover, it was impossible to drive on further towards Dhaka as the highway was submerged.
Saber hired an engine boat at the ghat, loaded our products and cruised through the treacherous current to Tongi. As he neared the adhoc landing area, a gun-toting hijacker accosted him. A quick tussle and Saber had the hijacker swim for life. We share such stories of heroism that energises us.
We are burdened with negative and toxic doses of frustration, cynicism or sarcasm every day that literally pull us down emotionally. We do need to reverse these deadly behaviours and bring in a sense of positivism and optimism in our organisations. The starting point is with you as the leader.
Begin your day with a smile, a can-do attitude and the humility and graciousness to accept mistakes and build your colleagues and culture with compassion for the sustainable growth of your organisation.

The writer is the managing director of Syngenta Bangladesh Ltd.


Original article on The Daily Star

Related News

Social media pressure changing news making

Opinion Afsan Chowdhury THE relentless reality of social media has begun to influence news making at several levels. Three social media elements are making these pressures so strong. (a) It reaches consumers almost instantly and in no way can professional media compete with that. (b) Content creators can mix and offer audio-visuals that cost little ... Read more

Securing water for sustainable urban future

Opinion By AKM Mahmudul Haque WATER, the essence of life, is a precious resource that sustains our planet and its inhabitants. Yet, despite the vastness of our oceans, only a small portion of the water is potable. Recent studies have revealed alarming statistics that approximately 80 per cent of the water supplied in cities and ... Read more

We need to transform social norms for gender equality

World Population Day Views Md Nuruzzaman Khan World Population Day, which has been observed on July 11 every year since 1989, holds significant importance in addressing critical population-related issues. This year, the focus is on gender equality, symbolised by the theme of “Unleashing the power of gender equality: Uplifting the voices of women and girls ... Read more

Quality education for all, but quality schools for few?

Views Mohammad Ehsanul Islam Khan Education empowers and shapes nations. Increased enrollment and reading levels in Bangladesh have also enhanced education access. But the focus on quantity has overtaken the drive for quality education, leaving only a handful with access to top-notch universities. According to Dr John Dewey, “Education is not preparation for life; education ... Read more

Equal education leads to a better society

Opinion Mehreen Chowdhury EDUCATION is known to be strongest when voices and diverse perspectives are heard and shared around the community. It is vital that young people are given the space and safety to express them without feeling ashamed. The idea of special education is governed by the concept that education is for all. It ... Read more

Alarming increase in child marriage

Opinion Zillur Rahaman CHILD marriage is one of the social ills in Bangladesh. It was once an epidemic in Bangladesh. It, however, came under control because of various measures and the supervision of the government in the past decade or so, but has been increasing at an alarming rate since the Covid pandemic, which increased ... Read more

Time to prioritise social justice

Views We have the chance to reshape the world we live in – economically, socially, and environmentally. Gilbert F Houngbo May 1 is widely known as International Labour Day, a day when we celebrate the contribution of workers worldwide. It is a moment for pride, celebration, and hope. After three years of the Covid-19 crisis, ... Read more

More heatwaves are coming our way. Are we prepared?

Views While Bangladesh has a lot of experience in tackling cyclones and floods, we have not taken heat stress into consideration until now. Saleemul Huq The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) recently completed its sixth assessment report (AR6), with the Synthesis Report coming out in March. The Synthesis Report carries some key messages about ... Read more

Women must be at the forefront of the transition to a low-carbon economy

Opinion Veronica Mendizabal Joffre and Pinky Serafica Can we truly reimagine a path to a low-carbon transition and change the climate narrative? This is hard to envision when we witness the unprecedented damage we are inflicting on the planet. For women, the effects of climate change are already a lived experience. Where environments are damaged ... Read more

Why collaboration is in our collective interest

ViewsRMG NOTESClimate ActionWithout fashion retailers and their suppliers working together, our industry as a whole will continue to see emissions rising. Mostafiz Uddin According to the latest report of the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), the world is likely to fail to reach its most ambitious climate target – limiting global warming to ... Read more

Will our universities survive in 25 years?

Views Syed Saad Andaleeb Quality education is the backbone of a wholesome and prosperous society. But finding the “quality” in quality education continues to be elusive in Bangladesh. The “so called” universities (more like community colleges) are rife with social, economic, political and ideological problems that work against building learning organisations. Teachers, the kingpins, don ... Read more

Can teachers be the pivot of change in education?

Views Manzoor Ahmed “No system of education can be better than its teachers” is an aphorism that remains meaningful. The nostalgic and idealised image of the teacher as a scholar, dispensing knowledge and wisdom to the young selflessly, who lives a simple life with little concern for material rewards and who is looked upon by ... Read more

Climate loss and damage are clearly visible in southwest Bangladesh

Views Ashish Barua, Sawkat Chowdhury The Sixth Assessment Report (AR6) by Working Group I of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) shows that the sea level, over the last 120 years, has increased by 0.20 metres, and continues rising fast, caused by thermal expansion, glacier ice loss, ice sheet loss, etc. The sea level ... Read more

How can Dhaka solve its traffic problem?

Views Debra Efroymson If I had a dollar for every time I’ve heard that “traffic was particularly bad today,” I could have retired already. Over the years, people have hazarded various suggestions as to the cause of the terrible Dhaka traffic and its potential solutions. Causes include: not enough roads for all the cars; poor ... Read more

Celebrating 50 years of global environmental movement

Opinion Saleemul Huq The global environmental movement started in 1972, with the first global environment conference held in Stockholm, Sweden, hosted by then Swedish Prime Minister Olof Palme. Among the heads of governments who also attended was the then Indian Prime Minister Indira Gandhi, who famously declared that environment and poverty were two major global issues ... Read more

Saving earth from disasters

Opinion By Md Zillur Rahaman TODAY is World Earth Day. The day is celebrated worldwide each year to show support for the protection of the environment. It was first observed in 1970 and is now held globally by the Earth Day Network. The UN-sponsored conference in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, from June 3 to June 14, ... Read more

Women for women

Opinion Faria Rashid PATRIARCHAL societies like to deceive women into thinking that women cannot get along, work together and stand in support of one another. Given the patriarchal history of society, it has mostly worked to keep women in their places and apart from each other. This is why we hear so much about women ... Read more

CSR and a new order of business

From being seen as mere philanthropy and ‘doing good’, corporate social responsibility is now at the heart of business sustainability and ethical and accountable corporate behaviour Bitopi Das Chowdhury CSR or corporate social responsibility has been a buzz phrase for quite some time now. Not a day goes by without it being mentioned, albeit in ... Read more

Harmful impacts of cartels on consumers

Munshi Abdul Ahad A cartel is an anti-competitive arrangement between two or more competing businesses. Anticompetitive agreements, particularly cartels, harm consumers in urbanised society, as well as in the emerging countries. In adding together, cartelised industrial sectors lack competition which certainly reduces competitiveness in the long run and may have a negative impact on the ... Read more

How to troubleshoot the economy

Sadiq Ahmed Bangladesh is facing serious macroeconomic challenges and I have written a lot explaining them in a series of articles published in The Daily Star and in The Financial Express. In this new article I am going to write specifically about how Bangladesh could address those challenges while also mobilising substantial external financing in ... Read more