Wednesday, 28 March 2012

Internal Audit For A Public Servant's Soul

A random checklist of things for a public servant (someone like me) to revisit periodically on the job:

(1) Am I in touch with my subordinates? Am I making full use of their knowledge and experience on one hand, and their personal wisdom on the other? 

(2)Do they radiate the same spirit of being accessible to the public which I (hopefully) do? 

(3) Am I dealing with any negligence or corruption on the part of my subordinates sternly, promptly, but humanely?

(4) Are my subordinates clear that I expect excellence, and will make every effort to ensure that it is rewarded appropriately, keeping aside personal considerations?

(5) Are mutual staff relations healthy?

(6) Am I advising my superiors correctly?

(7) There are times when my speaking up in front of my superiors can make a big difference to the final decisions and outcomes. Am I sure I have not let any such times slip by?

(8) In a more narrow context-when I am faced personally with a morally dubious course of action prescribed by a superior- or a subordinate- do I point it out? Politely, without getting abusive or personal? On the basis of clear facts and rules/laws?

(9) When I can see that I am likely to face undue pressure, have I taken advance action to raise the bulwarks so that the public interest is not harmed?

(10) Am I sure I am personally clean enough to confidently take the moral high ground if and when things get rough?

(11) Do I remember, and regularly remind myself, how it feels to be on the other side of the table or counter? Am I willing to wear my status lightly most of the time because the reward of being able to learn more and perform better is a richer prize?

(12) Do I often consider how new technologies and new ideas that I get exposed to in daily life could be utilized to make my work more effective?

I'd made up this checklist a couple of years back but it still looks relevant to me, over and above other skill sets.


  1. ur 12 point theory is inspiring for all government servants,all must work with the same spirit. thanks for sharing.
    vaishali(dba at BEL)

  2. every government employee should go through each of above mentioned point.
    surely it will help alot.

    Kamal Gupta (BEL-Dba)

  3. Thanks Madam for great articulation....its for all of us and woukd help me prrsonally and professionally

  4. Good points, Varsha. But 'subordinate' is a term that I'd avoid given its disparaging underpinnings. Why not 'coworkers' instead? :) That would promote a collegial, inclusive work environment.

  5. Because while working can and should be collegial, discipline and accountability in a government organisation is hierarchical.