Role of Ethics for Sustaining Excellence in Administration

Across the nation administration is being called for excellence. Like everything else, excellence cannot be taught in classrooms. Excellence in administration is achieved when the administration fulfils its objectives and it is sustained when each one is working for it at a personal and professional level.
However, what about a system where excellence is perceived differently by different people? And related to their definition of excellence, the means to achieve it and sustain it differ? To contribute to the sustainability of excellence in an administrative system, each one in the system needs to be aligned in their efforts to continuously work for excellence at their level by following practices that mobilize the energy of the system. For such a mobilization of energy, individuals need to inculcate excellence in the way they think, perceive, communicate, deal with people, perform etc. When we understand and appreciate this pre-requisite to excellence, it transforms our notion of excellence from being merely an outcome achieved by chance, to an attitude. Any simple act done with a blend of virtues or ethics raises the value of the act itself above the ordinary and then that act becomes our expertise which cannot be competed, leading to sustainable excellence. A simple act of serving others when done with the virtue of unconditional love and selflessness makes Agnes Gonxha Bojaxhiu into Mother Teresa and further into Saint Teresa; another simple act of standing by the truth when done with honesty, integrity, virtue and pure feeling of not causing hurt to anyone (non-violence) makes Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi into Mahatma Gandhi; the virtue of rock strong determination, perseverance and hope gives rise to an Abraham Lincoln; the virtue of courage along with a heart open to forgive made Nelson Mandela the father of democratic South Africa, widely admired for his ability to bring together a nation. This calls for the need of developing an attitude of excellence by knowing what is required of me to deliver this excellence and how can I experience it myself, at the first place? For this, proper understanding of ourselves, others and the system we administer is of utmost importance. One of the many hindrances to sustaining excellence is accounted to mere lack of self awareness and inability to transform ourselves to excel in every situation. When we are unaware of our true self, how can we be fully conscious of our potential and ‘special’ virtue (one that is weaved into my identity and can be easily converted into my greatest strength) and use it all the time? As a result, we start looking outside to accumulate enough triggers that can simulate a sense of excellence every time, although for a short while. Such an achievement is like a mirage. Since the situations outside are fluctuating, the attainments derived out of them are also short lived and this temporary & weak foundation to achieve excellence becomes the root cause for lack of its sustainability.
Here, we need to understand that everything external is managed and controlled by whatever is internal, as it is said- ‘As the Microcosm, So the Macrocosm’. Our world is created twice- firstly in our minds and then manifested in our words and actions, transforming our belief systems, perception of events, the atmosphere around us, our administration and through our influence on others this transformation propagates to others in the system gradually, thus creating the same world in reality. Also, what is looked for in Macrocosm indicates the void in the Microcosm. One fine evening, a child was searching for something below a dim street light. A man walking through the street noticed the child engrossed in hunting for something. He went to him and inquired of what was he searching. “I am looking for my lost keys” said the child. “How were the keys? Let me help you to find it, it is getting dark!” said the gentleman who immediately joined the child in his quest for keys. In another few minutes, other pedestrians also joined. An elderly woman also happened to pass by that way. When she noticed, she also tried to inquire what was happening. She asked the child, “What are you all looking for?” “I have lost my keys” said the child with regret. “Ok, where did you use it last? They must have been lost there.” advised the woman. The child revealed “The keys were lost in the empty garage by the roadside, where I was playing with my friends”. On hearing this, the people who were helping the child find his keys under the street light stood awe-struck. When they asked the child that why was he searching for the keys under the street light instead of searching it in the garage, the child confessed “When I was playing, it was early evening time and now it has grown dark. I fear darkness and even if I gain enough strength to go inside and look for the keys, I will not be able to find it in the absence of light. Because there is some light under the street lamp, I thought to look for the keys here.” We might claim the child to act foolish in this case, but are we smart enough to search for the key of excellence under the diminishing light of virtues and strengths outside because of the darkness of ignorance in the room within? In other words, we seek from outside what actually lays inside of us, but due to lack of self awareness, remains unexplored or untapped. Just as when the quantity of water in the body decreases, we feel thirsty and need water to restore its balance; during winters we use heaters to restore warmth and use woollen clothing to prevent the loss of body heat. Since the physical entity of our identity (body) is made up these elements, we need them in the same proportion to sustain life. And when this proportion is disturbed, we create means to bring them back in the same proportion. Similarly, the spiritual entity of our identity (the SELF- ‘Spiritual Energy in Light Form’ or the SOUL- ‘Source of Unique Light’) is made up of virtues like knowledge, peace, purity, love, happiness, power and bliss. To sustain excellence, we need to explore our deeper selves to find the latent virtues and use them in order to strengthen them. This automatically rebalances these virtues and stops us from wasting our energy in trying to trigger them from outside by emphasising that others must practise them first as they are responsible for my state of being. Then we can start making use of these virtues in a worth-while way to gain excellence that can be sustained as now the
An administrator is like a tightrope walker who is walking from one end to other balancing himself all the way. His focus is on the destination but he doesn’t lose the attention to remain balanced. A heavier step on any side at any point of time, can lead to imbalance resulting to complete failure of the administration. So if on one hand the administrator is lawful, he does not necessarily need to be a fundamentalist or arrogant or adamant. It is the duty of the administrator to do what is right and fair in order to protect the well being of all. However, even though we need laws, we must never lose sensitivity to the needs of individuals. Such a balance makes life peaceful and happy.
Those in administrative positions need to possess a higher than average degree of inner resources and abilities such as patience, tolerance, accurate discernment, sound judgement, compassion, courage, integrity, efficiency, self motivation, detached involvement, love, stability, understanding, indiscrimination, cheerfulness, contentment, assertiveness, open-mindedness, acceptance and many more, which contribute to the quality of administration. On the other hand, not knowing the real meaning of these virtues, the essence of ethical administration for sustaining excellence is lost. For instance, ‘Power’- It is the mark of the administrators. It is by the exercise of power of their role, that administration is conducted. And excellence in administration depends upon how this power is used, and whether it results in everyone in the system feeling empowered or not. An authentic administrator knows that real power does not derive from position, prestige or pay. How do the administrator excise this real power further depends on how powerful are the administrators internally? The demands of their role can often result in tremendous mental and physical strain that impacts the administration and creates a hindrance in achieving excellence. To be powerful is to be the controller of the self and to be able to inspire others, to be free from tension or influences of others and situations, to be able to take better decisions and also remain balanced in using the ethics to bring into play a moral authority- while executing their roles. It is through spiritual empowerment that one can awaken these inner powers and enhance administrative qualities of the mind and character that enrich their lives and allow them to empower others, thus achieving excellence.
Also, an administrator should refrain from leaning, prejudices, biased judgements, blame, accumulation of pressure leading to stress, attachment to an idea or a role, non-acceptance, dominance, dictation etc, which further indicates a disoriented and handicapped administration due to loss of ethics. These weaknesses in administration gradually become black holes of the system. But because a true administrator understands himself and others, he is aware of the weaknesses in him and the people and also the loop holes in the system that lead to threats. He also understands well- the strength of the self, people and the system, to convert those threats into an opportunity.
Excellence in administration also means to earn trust, respect and cooperation from those whom you administer as only then will the administration go a long way towards sustainability. In other terms, it is to ensure that the people in the administration remain intrinsically motivated to work for the cause for which all the administration exists. Instead of looking at the external motivators, a good administrator would seek to motivate his team by fulfilling their inner aspirations. An administrator who is well connected to the inner self gets an insight into other’s minds and is easily able to see under the layers of one’s consciousness to understand and address those intangible needs that are truly important to them. Instead of criticizing people and complaining about the problems and mistakes, he works with a positive mindset and uses the strengths of the administration and the people associated to it, to bring out their best making a permanent place in the mind and heart of the people. This allows them to act as a catalyst to keep others intrinsically motivated. Earning trust- respect- cooperation in return by the people under such an ethical administration makes the path ahead simpler by winning the loyalty and acceptance of the people forever. While getting things done by force with no due consideration to the benefit of the individuals, cannot win their hearts and such means of administration have to perish, making the system unsustainable.
Excellence in administration also relies on proper understanding of the situation which looks for the good in every situation, wise and timely decisions and sustenance of the decision taken. While it is important for an administrator to listen to others and be open to accept their ideas and suggestions, it is equally crucial for them to be intuitive in listening to the inner voice and catching the signals from situations and people. This can be referred to as the catching ability of the intellect which allows an individual to ‘catch’ the signals being generated from within and coming from others and the environment around us. This is possible when the intellect is in perfect coordination with the mind & body and is strengthened and capable of analyzing situations fairly by catching the signals but without getting influenced by others and without being affected by the past and fear of future. This can be achieved through Spirituality which helps us achieve this inner harmony. When my mind, intellect and body are in perfect coordination, my thoughts- words- actions are in harmony with each other. It is then that I can clearly- think, analyze what I need to do and what I need not, and express myself, leaving no scope for misunderstandings and miscommunications. It also avoids mistakes and lapses in my work and ensures excellence. Such a practice of Spirituality done through Rajyoga Meditation technique allows us to experience the inner self through silence. Meditation enables us to come back to a state of self worth and recognition of our own value. It nourishes and strengthens the intellect, filling us with peace and power.
Therefore we are standing on the verge of the experiencing sustainable excellence; all that is required is to peep within, explore the endless inner world and extend it to others through the medium of our ethics and virtues.