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Stay Away from the Frontliners!

Updated: Mar 31, 2020

[Work From Home Day 13]

These past 2 weeks, there seemed to be a spike in the amount of activity in social media. Maybe because of this “house-arrest,” everybody is restless or agitated, prompting many to take to the social media to let off steam. Furthermore, the COVID-19 pandemic, the MCO and their related issues provided a lot of ideas, to keep the cyber-writers busy. As the postings increase, we cannot help but notice the ever-increasing postings, comments, and tweets that are critical and sarcastic.

Sadly, a lot of the criticism and sarcasm are also aimed at the government and COVID-19 frontliners, like these examples:

· Accusing the government as slow in taking action on the virus threat

· Complaining about the MCO as unnecessary and restrictive

· Condemning our healthcare system and personnel as unprofessional

· Ridiculing the prime minister for extending the MCO

· Criticizing the government for allowing EPF 

· Questioning the deployment of the military. 

· Downplaying the financial package announced

 At a time where the country is facing an unprecedented challenge, these criticisms are just uncalled for. They can undermine the government’s effort to rise above the pandemic. The government acted, took the necessary steps and made difficult decisions. The frontliners, in this medical war zone, sacrificed personal and family needs, risking their lives in battling the virus. They are battered, tired, sleepy, hungry, angry and sapped out of their very last drop of energy. Imagine the frustration and the emotional stress of these frontliners wanting to find some solace through social media, only to read messages denouncing their noble deeds. The irony is that the very people that can save us from a total pandemonium are being made the targets of condemnation. 

“Any fool can criticize, condemn and complain – and most fools do.” Mr. Carnegie knew exactly what he meant when he wrote that phrase eighty-four years ago. Criticizing others will leave them hurt, demoralized and their reputation tarnished. Nobody enjoys being the subject of disapproval, deservedly or not. Condemning the government and the frontlines accomplished nothing except attract negative attention towards the detractors. Author, Guy Kawasaki said the real loser is the person who condemns because digital technology has made it possible to blow one’s reputation faster and easier than ever.

What the frontliners need right now are huge doses of appreciation, motivation, and support. We can easily do that by staying at home, adhere to healthcare guidelines and use social media responsibly. Dale Carnegie Training recommends these 4 attitude-building approaches to prevent us from sending out invisible boomerangs that will eventually return to our heads.

Attitudes to work on:

1. To be self-aware:

To have an accurate understanding of our values, ambitions, thought-patterns, strengths, weaknesses and their effect on others. Many people fail to realize the impact of their behavior on others.

2. Give people the benefit of the doubt

Withhold judgment until we have enough information to better understand where others are coming from. Also, this is a genuine attempt to consider why the other person thinks, feels, or behaves the way they do. Avoid making comments blindly and based on incomplete information. Being prejudiced is a big culprit.

3. Use diplomacy when preparing or reacting to a message 

Handle any situation without creating resentment in others.

When creating or reacting to a message, try to read or imagine how the other party will react to your intended message. A potential negative reaction should be avoided at all cause

4. Be tactful when replying


To maintain good relationships, the reply is critical. Most people tend to be engrossed in creating their message without considering its effect on others. Have a positive attitude while replying. Think about the potential impact our message will have on others and also on us.

Thinking through the above steps will ensure that we have the right frame of mind before piecing together our message. 

 Mr. Carnegie said that when dealing with people, let us remember that we are not dealing with creatures of logic. We are dealing with creatures of emotions, creatures bristling with prejudices and motivated by pride. The other person may be wrong, but they don’t think so. 

It takes more than being a clever and savvy communicator to navigate the digital jungle, but also someone with character, self-control, understanding, and forgiveness. People will remember how we make them feel and not what we do to them.

To all social media users – Let’s stay away from our frontliners. And if we can’t, take some time to appreciate the sacrifices that they are making to make Malaysia safe. Post responsibly.


Trainer, Dale Carnegie Malaysia

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