Letters To The Editor

"A successful man is one who can lay a firm foundation with the bricks others have thrown at him." – David Brinkley

Viruses on the rise

As overwhelming as the effect of Covid-19 has been on all our lives, scientists were not surprised – they have been predicting a pandemic for years. The fact is, despite huge scientific and medical advances, today the potential for diseases to spread is actually increasing, and therefore, so too is the risk of outbreaks escalating into epidemics or pandemics. A massive increase in globalisation and connectivity has meant that a virus can spread from one side of the world to another in mere hours. Here are three key reasons that pandemics are becoming more likely:

1. Global travel

Air travel makes it possible for someone to travel halfway across the globe in less time than it takes for many diseases to incubate, making it extremely difficult to prevent their spread. Without this extraordinary global mobility, the new coronavirus may have stayed in China and neighbouring countries, or at least not spread so quickly. Instead, the millions of flights that take-off each month helped fuel the spread of the coronavirus to most of the world within a few months.

2. Urbanisation

The world is transitioning to being more urban. By 2050 the UN predicts 66 per cent of people will be living in urbanised settings. Many of the cities with growing numbers of people are already struggling with infrastructure, housing, sanitation, transport and health care facilities. In many cases this means an increasing number of people living in overcrowded and unhygienic environments in which infectious diseases can thrive, without adequate health systems that can deal with these threats.

3. Climate change

Climate change affects every aspect of human existence, from access to water and food to severe weather events and extremes of heat and cold. It can also affect the spread of disease in a number of ways, such as by altering the natural range of disease carrying insects, like mosquitoes.

Maliha Javed,

Incompetent leaders destroy organisations

An organisation cannot run without good leadership. But are all people at leadership positions in your organisation competent enough to do justice with the designation? Certainly not. Not all your project teams perform with the same consistency. Neither do all your departments have the same environment and mutual working relationships among the team members. What makes all this difference? Leadership. Some leaders possess toxic traits, which makes working under them a very big struggle. Some of them cannot get the work completed by the subordinates, while others cannot help develop an atmosphere for healthy working relationships along with competitiveness. Leadership requires mettle and courage. It is a responsibility bigger than many of you understand. If leaders do not know how to take the whole team together and build mutual trust, they can become a bad influence on the people around them. This will really impact an organisation as when you have the wrong individuals in leadership who remains in the organisation year after year, making decisions that may be contrary to the organisation’s long-term best interest and to the detriment of its employees. But how does this happen? Organisations, to their own detriment, often select leaders who look great on paper – you know, the ones who went to a certain school or worked at certain top-tier organisations. While it’s important to hire qualified leaders, what’s most important is to hire the right leaders for your organisation. Companies should take their time in selecting individuals who will fill leadership roles irrespective of whether they are internal or external candidates. Also, they should ensure that these individuals, as well as their existing leadership and/or future leaders, not only fit the organisational culture, but are also the right fit based on where their organisation is now and where they are looking to take it. If they don’t measure up, companies should cut their losses and move on.

Zahra Ahmed,