It is the belief that this public service principle should be based on altruism and not self-interest. This is also to say that public sector employees should be interested in altruistic and ideological goals, such as helping other efforts in national development without much regard for monetary rewards.
In The Gambia, however, it appears in some cases that individual financial gain is the leading motivation for seeking a public office. For many, being in such office is a substitute for employment or entrepreneurship. As a result, taxpayers continue to pay more to keep public servants in office. This problem has been highlighted severally by well-meaning Gambians who are interested in advancing the collective interest of the country.
Clearly, individual behaviour is very important to the concept of servant leadership, because it is based on leading by example. For one to develop the normative paradigm of public service, one must begin with the individual. The motives of the individual for public service must be acknowledged and affirmed, while the skills to be a servant leader are developed through the educational process and by the role modeling of those in positions of authority.
It will not be misplaced to state that for a country to thrive on a path of prosperity, its citizens must work by the principles upon which public service is built. Principles such as patriotism, selflessness and diligence are issues that should not be ignored. They are the foundation for development. Whereas this will boost people’s performance in public sector service delivery, the bigger change is that it will increase the country’s development potential.
The measures of success are quite different if servant leadership and ethical principles are used as the standards when examining programmes and policies. Instead of measuring success by how much power has been acquired by one or more interest groups, the servant especially the leader’s measurement of success is whether those served become healthier, wiser, freer, more autonomous, and more likely to become servants’ leaders themselves.
Public servants especially those in high places must first become aware of their own actions. This means giving up control, which is not an easy thing to do when your assumption is that you are responsible for everything that goes on within that setting. Yet, the love for country should supersede that of self and more importantly, there is a need for one to demonstrate that mindset.
Nonetheless, as a public servant, communication in servant leadership moves from coercion or pressure and manipulation to persuasion. It is said that with persuasion, an individual arrives at a feeling of rightness about a belief or action through his or her own intuitive sense. Individuals who function in organisations of power such as universities and governmental agencies often use communication to coerce and manipulate beliefs or actions. Conscious decisions must be made by individuals to communicate with a focus on persuasion.
The vision of public service is based on stewardship, honesty, integrity, social equity, and democratic participation in all aspects of policymaking. This vision as been emphasised by our government has inspired many to work as public servants, and it is our obligation as professionals and educators to maintain the vision and to provide the tools to help the vision become the reality of public service.
The principle on which people seek public office is shifting from improving society, making a contribution and building a legacy, to accumulating money in many countries. Gambians ought to debate if this is the basis on which it will be premised.]]>