How does the largest employer in the country drive performance? By equipping those at the wheel with modern skills and techniques. CSCIU reports on the Senior Leadership Programme coordinated by the Ministry of Civil Service.
As the largest employer in the country, the Fijian Civil Service has a cadre of over 500 senior leaders who are leading the modernisation of government practices and processes. And in the last two years, over 50 new executives from outside of government have joined the civil service.
To transform the strength of leadership across government, the Ministry of Civil Service coordinates a week-long programme targeting executive level staff.
Now on its sixth ‘lap’, over 100 executives have completed the training which includes a personal Permanent Secretary mentor.
The programme builds on several dimensions of leadership such as coaching, mentoring, strategy, innovation, conflict and risk, performance management and managing change.
Permanent Secretary for the Ministry of Employment, Productivity and Industrial Relations Mr Osea Naitura Cawaru has seen positive changes within the Ministry since the programme started.
“Investing in our executive level is incredibly important to the future of our civil service. Our senior leaders are the drivers for cultivating the attitude and expertise we need for high performance,” he said.
Director Corporate Services for Ministry of Employment, Productivity and Industrial Relations Ms Miriama Raikoti, is one of the new executives managing change, but believes everyone should have a hand in advocating reforms.
“At this leadership level we must take it upon ourselves to manage this change because we are the first point of contact for issues and a pivot point for our Permanent Secretary,” she said.
Ms Raikoti was previously with the World Bank supporting the review of the Fijian Ministries – one of the early Reform initiatives aimed at providing advice on how to modernise structures, practices and processes.
“I decided I wanted to give back to the government and contribute to this change. Particularly as a female, we can influence leadership by offering specific skills, experiences and abilities that are well suited to modern organisations” she explains.
Ms Raikoti’s scope includes leading human resources, finance, communications, asset management, information technology and customer services. She believes this leadership programme is targeting the pivotal points for change in the civil service.
“This training will have a ripple effect. Our staff will be more empowered through better and improved leadership. Senior leaders model change which influences employee engagement and then impacts service delivery,” Ms Raikoti said.
Fiji Bureau of Statistics Chief Statistician Mitieli Cama agrees: “Leadership is all about influencing in the right way to positively affect productivity and improve service delivery.”
His work in the Household Survey Unit involves conducting, compiling, processing, analysing and releasing national survey information in a way the general public can use it and assists them in making better decisions.
The data from these surveys (household, employment and population census) also assists government and other agencies in their evidence-based decision making that would eventually affect the welfare of the Fijian people.
Now six months into his new role at this level, Mr Cama says the training has been timely and benefits not just his work but the Civil Service as a whole.
Another group of civil servant executives will take part in the next Senior Leadership Programme in July.
As well as offering new leadership models and techniques, the programme uniquely creates a learning community for civil service executives - helping those at the wheel keep on track for a better future for Fijians.