Tariq Mahmood Awan
Temptation is the desire to do something against nature’s will and purpose. It is the presentation of an avenue to transgress. Regarding administrative temptation, it is an opportunity to do what is wrong, unethical and unwise. Temptation is a soft challenge, whereas fear is the foremost challenge. Then, fear is an unpleasant emotion caused by the threat of danger, pain, or harm. Several civil servants in Pakistan counter temptation and fear; however, they find overcoming the challenges of fear more demanding than temptation.
Civil servants working in powerful bureaucracy face many challenges of temptation, such as corruption, political interference, moral compromise and abuse of authority. Civil servants may be tempted to abuse their power and authority for personal gain or favoritism. They may accept bribes, embezzle funds, misuse resources, or manipulate policies to benefit themselves or their allies. Corruption undermines public trust, erodes the rule of law, and hampers the delivery of public services. They may be tempted to align themselves with political parties or leaders who can influence their career prospects or protect them from accountability. They may compromise their impartiality, professionalism, and integrity to serve the interests of their political patrons. Political interference disrupts the civil service’s stability, continuity, and efficiency.
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Civil servants may be tempted to violate their ethical principles or values to achieve specific goals or outcomes. They may rationalize their actions by claiming they are serving the greater good, following orders, or adapting to the situation. Moral compromise damages the civil service’s credibility, reputation, and morale. However, temptations are easier to overcome. Yes, many civil servants fall victim to temptations; still, quite a few can overcome the design of temptations. Then, it is easier to overcome the challenges of temptations. Civil servants can overcome the challenges of temptations by practising self-discipline, seeking guidance, building supportive networks and developing solid tendencies.
Civil servants need to control their impulses and emotions and resist the lure of immediate gratification. They must set clear boundaries and standards and adhere to them consistently. They need to be accountable for their actions and accept the consequences of their choices. They need to rely on nature’s wisdom and strength to overcome temptation. They must pray regularly, read literature, and meditate on nature’s expression. They need to remember nature’s promises and commands and obey them faithfully. They must seek ethical guidance and purpose for their lives and profession. They need to surround themselves with people who share their values and goals and who can encourage, advise, and correct them. They need to find mentors, peers, or friends who can help them grow professionally and aesthetically. They need to be transparent, humble, and teachable.
Temptation is a soft challenge, but fear is the foremost challenge for civil servants in Pakistan. The fear of losing jobs, command and perks makes them the worst civil servants. Civil servants who can overcome temptations find it impossible to cope with the challenges of fear. Therefore, bravery and courage are intimate values.
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Fear is an unpleasant emotion and is caused by something dangerous, painful, or destructive that is happening or might happen. Fear can cause physiological and behavioural changes, such as mounting an aggressive response or fleeing the threat. Civil servants may be afraid of being involved in or exposed to corruption, which can damage their reputation, career, and integrity. They may also face pressure or threats from corrupt politicians, colleagues, or interest groups who want to influence their decisions or actions. Corruption undermines public trust, erodes the rule of law, and hampers the delivery of public services. Civil servants may be afraid of losing their impartiality, professionalism, and security in their tenures due to political interference. They may be subject to arbitrary transfers, promotions, demotions, or dismissals based on political affiliations or opinions. They may also be forced to implement policies or programs not in the public interest or violate their ethical principles.
Civil servants may fear violating their ethical principles or values to achieve specific goals or outcomes. They may rationalize their actions by claiming they serve the greater interest, following orders, or adapting to the situation. Moral compromise damages the civil service’s credibility, reputation, and morale. Civil servants may be afraid of failing to deliver effective, efficient, and innovative public services that meet the expectations and needs of the citizens. They may face complex, challenging, and uncertain tasks and projects requiring high skills, resources, and capacity. They may also face scrutiny, criticism, or accountability from various stakeholders, such as the media, the judiciary, the civil society, and the public. Then, they are mostly driven by fears. Accordingly, they are unimaginative and orthodox.
Civil servants need to control their whims and emotions and resist the lure of instantaneous gratification. They must set clear boundaries and standards and adhere to them unfailingly. They need to be accountable for their actions and accept the consequences of their choices. By adopting the decisive codes, they can overcome their fears. Civil servants must rely on professional guidance and support from their supervisors, mentors, peers, or experts to overcome fear. They must seek feedback, advice, and assistance when facing difficulties or uncertainties. They need to learn from their mistakes and improve their performance. They need to confront their fears and challenge their negative thoughts. They need to examine the evidence and reality of their fears and question their validity. They must gradually expose themselves to the situations or tasks they fear and overcome them confidently and competently. Civil servants need to imagine a positive outcome of their actions and goals. They need to focus on the benefits and rewards of overcoming fear rather than the costs and risks of avoiding it. They need positive affirmations and character to boost their self-esteem and motivation.
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Lastly, being a civil servant in Pakistan is a challenge, especially when one is critical, independent and principled. Then, in this struggle, one may overcome temptations by developing capacity and capability; however, overcoming fears will remain a daunting task.