The Guiding Goals for Public Servants

Public servants must juggle multiple responsibilities as they perform their job to deliver a quality performance for the public. In addition to the duties to the community, they also must answer to their department and leadership. To ensure public servants perform their job duties competently, they must establish clear goals. These goals should guide their work and inform assessments of their performance. According to the U.S. Department of the Interior, public servants must maintain strict loyalty to ethical principles, the Constitution, and the law. Public servants should also work toward the following four objectives.

Recruiting the Next Generation

One of the most important yet frequently overlooked responsibilities of public servants is the duty to recruit the next generation of personnel. Statistics show that the average age of professionals in the federal workforce is older than that of the U.S. workforce. Employees under 30 account for only seven percent of federal employees working full-time. It illustrates the urgent responsibility of every public servant to recruit new professionals to the field. Highly qualified candidates must be sought out and recruited to the field.

Implementing Strong Management

Although public service does not function the same way a corporation does, there is still a need for a basic management structure. Without core leadership, a public service agency will be unable to execute its mission, so it’s imperative to implement a system that supports the organization’s primary goals. If this structure is lacking, the public servant must advocate for its development, implement it successfully, and maintain it throughout whatever challenges arise.

Maintaining Political Accountability

Public service often entails working close to political figures and organizations. Servants must work effectively with these people, but it’s equally important that they maintain political objectivity in all professional dealings. In other words, a public servant cannot leverage their position of power to unfairly further the cause of any particular political group or figure. Instead, public servants must maintain accountability in all political dealings and be transparent if any conflict of interest arises. It ensures that public servants work in the interest of the public rather than a political party.

Demonstrating Core Competencies

Finally, public servants must demonstrate mastery of their position’s core competencies. Many unique competencies vary based on the field and position. However, public servants should have leadership skills, commitment to values, relationship-building abilities, collective efficacy, and results-oriented action. An effective public servant will be able to demonstrate all these traits throughout their work and any additional competencies that they would need for their field. 

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