Sunday, September 20, 2020

“Experienced” civil servants are agents against change

Dear Editor

An assessment of the civil service employees compared to their counterparts in the private sector with regard to knowledge, skills and wisdom accords officers in the private sector an upper hand.

This does not necessarily presuppose that officers in the civil service do not possess equal credentials and credibility because officers of either side undergo training at the same tertiary institutions.

It should be observed that it is due to a number of disturbing factors within the civil service that productivity has continued to lag behind.

One of the main obstacles in the attempt to improve on government’s services is the seemingly increasing levels of ignorance among the long service officers, especially those tasked with positions of management.

These officers are just so block-headed and resistant to change.
Today’s dispensation requires people with open minds, articulate and liberal attitudes.
A theory of change states that there are three types of minds as far as change is required.

There are those that embrace change, those that dislike and resist change and, lastly, those that do not care about change.
That is to say that whether or not change takes place, to them it just does not matter. It is very sad to note that civil servants are mainly of the second type; they resist and dislike change.

Whenever an effort is made or a rational view is raised by non new brooms during workshops and or meetings that are performance related, it has become a tendency among those in senior positions to trample upon such ideas and subject them to total disregard.
In everything the old timers do and say, they always remind the new comers of experience and length of their service to justify their behaviour and actions.
“We have been here for so many years and have observed this particular practice, so why change it?” is the usual retort.

It would seem like these officers believe that change is tantamount to loss of order.
To them it is a form of disturbance.

These antagonists of change require some sort of a therapy to do away with such a disease.
They must be made to accept change as a normal phenomenon.
They have to be assisted to do so, so as not to see change as a violent revolution of some sort.

It is high time now that we see an increased appreciation of the marginalized.
A setup that would widen the parochial approach of our officers and propel them into a sense of urgency, obligation and mandate is needed.

Government should put an eye on this behavior and seek to do away with the perpetrators.
This negative attitude has for long impeded all efforts to bring change into the civil service.
The high number of young graduates who leave the civil service has a story to tell..

They reflect not only despair as regard remunerations but also frustrations from the experienced that resist and dislike change.
Believe me; those young graduates who remain behind do so because they have no alternatives.
Somebody somewhere has got to do something about this.

Regards
Tebogo K. Matshome.

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Sunday Standard September 20 – 26

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