Monday, January 13, 2014

Civil servants must understand unspoken feelings of others, says govt's new document called Competency Dictionary

HOW should a civil servant communicate? He must articulate information to others in language that is “clear, concise, and easy to understand”. It also includes the “ability to listen and understand unspoken feelings and concerns of others”. All these are part of a new document called Competency Dictionary for Civil Services, prepared by the government’s…personnel department DoPT in collaboration with the UNDP. First, a draft document was released and placed in DoPT’s site in November last year for comments and views from public. And after incorporating the comments, the 37-page-long final document was prepared. “The Competency Dictionary can be utilized by the Departments/Ministries/Training Institutions for various human resource functions including capacity development of civil servants”, says a circular issued by DoPT’s training division on January 10, 2014.
The document talks about
1) Ethos (People First, Strategic Thinking, Leading Others etc.),
2) Ethics (Integrity, Self-Confidence, Taking Accountability etc.)
3) Equity (Consultation and Consensus Building, Empathy, Delegation etc.)
4) Efficiency (Result Orientation, Initiative and Drive, Desire for Knowledge, Innovative Thinking etc.)
Here below are excerpts of the document on Communication Skills.
Articulates information to others in language that is clear, concise, and easy to understand. It also includes the ability to listen and understand unspoken feelings and concerns of others.
Level 1
Listens Attentively and Presents Information Clearly
b) Listens actively and objectively without interrupting
c) Checks own understanding of others’ communication (e.g., repeats or paraphrases, asks additional questions)
d) Is able to ask questions clearly to gather basic understanding of issues at hand
e) Presents basic facts in a clear and concise manner, both orally and in writing
f) Keeps superiors and other relevant stakeholders informed
Level 2
Fosters Two Way Communication
b) Conveys information, opinions and arguments fluently and confidently in a manner that clearly explains the benefits of one’s proposition on different people in the society
c) Elicits feedback on what has been said
d) Is able to ask leading and open-ended questions to allow for deeper thoughts to surface during communication
e) Understands complex non-verbal cues and incorporates the understanding to achieve better two way communication of ideas
f) Maintains an open communication channel with others
g) Communicate information likely to be perceived negatively with sensitivity and tact
Supports messages with relevant data and examples to create better impact and to enhance understanding
i) Is able to write complex ideas in an easy to read, coherent, accurate manner devoid of jargon
Level 3
Adapts Communication to Others
b) Adapts communication style to suit the situation
Takes others’ perspectives into account during communication,
Times communication effectively keeping in mind the overall context and public opinion
e) Anticipates the response to messages and adapts communications accordingly
f) Is able to understand the non-verbal cues of the speaker
Level 4
Communicates Complex Messages Clearly and Credibly
b) Does not bluff, acknowledges lack of information, acts tactfully and follows up response in agreed time
Communicates complex issues clearly and credibly, to widely varied audiences
d) Shares the idea with opinion makers, before “voicing” it
e) Uses varied communication methodologies to promote dialogue and shared understanding through interesting examples (stories, myths, cases, best practices etc.)
Level 5
Communicates Strategically
b) Uses different forums, media vehicles, tailors messages accordingly to achieve optimum results.


  1. Very informative. I read about this document first in this site. Good attempt by DoPT

  2. It is not of much use. Unless accountability is fixed on officers and decisions on files are made time bound nothing will change. file notings should be treated at par with an affidavit. Officers give wrong, unsubstantiated file notes, open new files to seek favour and then this file is conveniently lost, no evidence remains. DoP&T should focus on making administration more accountable and transparent. It should avoid such cosmetic actions of bringing out verbose documents which serve no purpose. No mechanism exists in Government of India to punish officers giving false information in File Noting. Let them bring out a book on accountability and ensuring government rules are acted upon by officers. Violate rs need to be punished. Till today has any Government Officer been held guilty for misrepresentation in File Notings? Will this ever be possible?

  3. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  4. This needs to be published in Hindi and perhaps other Indian languages. 'Miscommunication' and 'misunderstanding' in English among Indians is all too familiar. Regular interactive workshops, both formal & informal, could easily address these issues.

  5. Please explain why my comment was removed: it was a duplicate due to power failure. Thank you. Jayshree M. Tripathi