It is heartbreaking that over the last decade we have experienced a surge in leaders who ideally should be public servants yet continuously display arrogance and ego-drive behavior to the same public; they undertake and drive their engagements with a lot of egos to the so-called public that they are meant to serve inconsiderate of their oath of office.
We have seen many incidences of leaders in public service undermining the public they are serving, we have seen incidences of public leaders pummeling the same public they are to serve, and we have seen such leaders arrogantly dismissing views from the same public they are ideally serving based on their positions in office and these incidences have increased over the last few years. The unfortunate part is that these leaders cuts across all public service leadership levels from cabinet secretaries to permanent secretaries, heads of various public service dockets, to members of parliament and other political leadership spaces whose aim and mandate is to serve, protect and advance the public interest.
This then creates a downstream problem of the same arrogance, & impunity in the channels of service delivery.
Why do we have poor service delivery in most public service centers including public hospitals, parliamentary public offices, and others?
IS THE SERVICE DELIVERY DOWNSTREAM BY THE OFFICERS IN FRONTLINE OPERATIONS A REFLECTION OF THE UPSTREAM ARROGANCE AND EGO-DRIVEN LEADERSHIP?
Is there a possibility that if there is a change in the mindset of the upstream – the public leaders in various spaces in Kenya will instigate a change in the downstream in exceptional service delivery at all channels within the country?
This is a very live possibility!
Everything Starts and Stops on LEADERSHIP – John C. Maxwell
If our Public Service Leaders can change their culture, change their mindset, change their ego-centric behaviors, change their purpose, and change to become servant leaders – we will see a huge change in the downstream; we will see the service delivery in hospital streamlined with a focus on care for their customers and patients, we will see diligent service delivery in lands, registry, electricity, in county offices; these offices will start seeing the public not as a bother, but as an opportunity to serve with excellence and diligence.
But, it has to start from the upstream – The public service leaders!
I recently read a book by Jeff Henderson – what are you FOR and key pointers that can be adopted by the leaders in Public Service as below:
- The public is treated the way you as leaders in Public Service treat your teams and colleagues – This means that the poor public service is a reflection of the poor interpersonal relationship between the leaders and their teams, it’s a reflection of the poor internal culture with the public service; For a change to take effect in the way the public servants serve the public, there has to be a change in the internal culture from the leadership to the teams!
- The first customer the public servant has is their teams – if the leaders are corrupt the culture flows to the team, if the leaders are not cultivating a vulnerable environment, the teams will be heartless with the public who are their customers, if the leader is arrogant, the teams will be arrogant to the customers – public; so the leader controls the culture – The culture today in Public service channels are a reflection of the Leaders – Call to action for the Leaders to Change the culture!
- Public Servant Leaders should create a culture where the team knows that the leaders are for them and they are for one another – This is the only way we can start having a shift in the public service delivery and streamline the downstream and we can start seeing a positive shift which will spur positive growth in the country just by having a streamlined service delivery downstream, our economy can grow tremendously even amidst COVID-19 situation we are in this season.
Critical to note for Public Servant Leaders that; if you use power as your main motivator, what you cultivate in the public service downstream teams is negativism, lack of direction, and fear; you cultivate a culture of egocentrism and not of collaboration and team synergy; what you are doing is tear down your team rather than build a team
Public servant Leaders can still change this trend so that our public service delivery can improve in the coming years.
By striving to inculcate Servant Leadership Culture across their dockets.
Servant leaders create a vulnerable environment in their teams, which then supports team synergy, growth, and accountability.
Servant leadership is transparent, they are focused on solving the downstream problems and supporting the public diligently and with excellence.
To servant leaders, Power is with the public, critical is to ensure that the people’s needs and resolved.
Key traits Public Service leaders can strive to live to create the Servant Leadership Culture in Public service and burry the power leadership culture already created:
- Public Service Leaders as Servant leaders must inculcate the trait of service before leadership. There is no Public Leadership without Service; the success of their leadership is depicted by the success of the distinctive service delivery to the public.
- Public Service Leaders must build Collaboration both internally with their teams to ensure the great ideas within are nurtured and implemented and also externally by listening to key stakeholders’ feedback including the public. Today as is most of these leaders are more powerful leaders and believe in themselves and not team and even public thoughts and opinions.
- Public service leaders need to invest in their coaching program as an opportunity to sound their actions and behaviors that they may get as feedback from their teams; at the same time, they must invest in coaching and mentoring downstream leaders in key pertinent values that they are looking at driving culture across their dockets. Today most of our public leaders personalize their powers – it’s their way or no way.
- Finally, our Public Service leaders must inculcate the attitude of active listening –this will ensure they develop a deeper understanding of the issues at hand and have clear foresight and clarity on the vision and how to champion the team towards the direction. Unfortunately that we see most of our public service leaders today only focused on themselves and listen to react and the issues we are having across our various public service spaces.
I believe with this and more, our Public Service Leaders can SHIFT the culture in Public Service to DISTINCTIVE SERVICE DELIVERY at all touchpoints and channels and in the long run, we will have a country where public service is diligent and excellence away from scandals and corruption as is the case today!
I urge the Public service leaders across this country to start by looking within themselves – by having an evaluation of how their culture and behavior is impacting their teams and the service delivery in their dockets.
If vision 2030 as a country is something to realize; it must start with a self–assessment of the Public Service Leadership – A servant Leadership Culture must be inculcated!
They can consider enlisting the support of partners like us – Accent Leadership Group to help them understand, develop and live the Servant Leadership Culture in their dockets!
Call or contact us for more information on developing a servant leadership culture.
Gilbert Ang’ana (Coach Gilbert)
CEO – Accent Leadership Group
Leadership Coach, Speaker, Teacher & Advisor; Ph.D. scholar in Leadership, key focus interest on Organization Culture Change & Leadership Development; Governance and Policy development in both Public, Nonprofit & Private organizations
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