Public Service Values
This article deals with the topic titled ‘Public Service Values’ This is part of our series on ‘Ethics’. For more articles, you can click here.
We have already seen Core Foundational Values. Those were the uppermost hierarchy of values. Apart from them, there are many other values (secondary values)
In these values, the question asked are
- Define that particular value.
- How can you form this value in yourself?
- If you are the head of some institution, how can you form these values in your organisation )Common Answer – Give space to juniors, open to them, set an example by having that quality in yourself, use Emotional Intelligence etc.)
- Public Trust is the measure of public confidence and faith commanded by an officer or an institution.
- Public Trust in the civil servant enables him to take bold steps.
- Public trust in civil services can be achieved through transparency and efficient and consistent service delivery.
- Example: Election Commission of India enjoys high trust, which has helped it implement the Model Code of Conduct even without the Legislature‘s backing.
- Diligence is the quality of showing perseverance in carrying out the work.
How to teach this among civil servants?
- By role modelling: There have been various public personalities who showed exemplary diligence in their general conduct. Authorities should try to make such personalities the role model for civil servants. e.g. M. Shreedharan, T.N. Sheshan, J.Lyngdoh.
- Social recognition & awarding performing civil servants.
- Giving adequate autonomy to the civil servant: freedom from political pressure will allow the civil servant to engage in his work actively.
- It is the quality of continuing to try to achieve a particular aim despite difficulties.
- It is seen in people like Abraham Lincoln, Mahatma Gandhi etc., as they were never disappointed because of hardships or failures.
- The single-minded focus of researchers that keep on repeating experiments for several years is an excellent example of perseverance.
- For civil services, perseverance is a key value. The changes that policies bring, e.g. removing open defecation or improving the sex ratio in a district, are goals that cannot be achieved overnight. Many people oppose the schemes because they did not show results in one year or two years. Civil servants have to persevere if they honestly believe that the current policy/scheme is the best way to achieve desired goals. However, there may not be an immediately visible impact.
- The act of binding oneself with a particular cause intellectually or emotionally is called commitment.
- Examples include :
- Abraham Lincoln was committed to ending slavery.
- Gandhi was Commitment to Non-Violence.
- Courage or fortitude means showing strong will even in the face of danger.
- It is another feature of gutsy bureaucrats because they can take transformational steps only if they dare to accept the responsibility of failure, if there is any.
- Civil servants work in a dynamic environment where they may be subjected to various external pulls and pressures. They must demonstrate steadfastness and commitment to values that they adhere to.
- As Nelson Mandela put it, “Courage is not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it”
Courage enables people to face harsh consequences for their acts. For instance, whistle-blowers like Edward Snowden often pay a heavy price for disclosures.
- Without courage, it is challenging to display qualities like leadership which entails laying out roadmaps for the future amidst uncertainty. For example, it is “courage” that enabled Mahatma Gandhi to demonstrate the virtue of nonviolence against the oppressive colonial regime.
- It encourages people to take firm decisions and attempt things that they have not tried before. For instance, it takes courage to invest in novel & seemingly impractical/commercially unviable ideas like SpaceX.
Innovativeness and Creativity
- With the rapid advancement of ICT, civil servants have to be innovative and creative to make their administrative work faster, smoother and more efficient using such technology.
- Moreover, the administration should be ecology-based. When there are fast pace changes in ecology, the civil servants must be creative enough to match the changing environment to fulfil their duties innovatively.
Holders of the public office should act in the public interest. He shouldn’t work to gain financial or any other benefits for himself, his family, or friends.
- It is the ability to restrain & self-control.
- Emotionally Intelligent Persons show Temperance as well.
- Humility is not denying the qualities you have but not demanding special treatment and higher importance because you have specific attributes.
- Humility is the mother of all virtues. Being humble is essential for civil servants. They can turn arrogant because of power and authority. Civil servants should not think of themselves so big that other people look small.
- Humility is essential when there is extreme asymmetry of power (like civil servants and ordinary people).
- It is a feeling of being grateful and thankful.
- It is the ability to change in order to deal successfully with new situations.
- It is a quality of being kind, generous and forgiving, especially toward an enemy or a rival.
This marks the end of the article ‘Public Service Values’. For the entire series on ‘Ethics’, CLICK HERE.