Wisdom is knowing what to do next; skill is knowing how to do it, and  virtue is doing it. 
                                                                                            -- David Starr Jordan
How to and how not to work!
Tips to officials entrusted with authority 
Admininstrative Procedures     -   Read    Download [1014 KB]

Supervisory Officers

It is only to the individual that a soul is given. 

And the high destiny of the individual is to serve rather than to rule. 

                                                                          -- Albert Einstein

How to be an efficient supervisory officer?

Rule of law When we embraced democracy, there was a drastic shift in the role of persons who were placed in various positions of governance–not to rule but to serve people with the ‘rule of law’. The Constitution has provided by statute two things: the authority and the manner in which the power should be exercised. 'Proper officer' and 'prescribed procedure' are key words to governance.

  1. Please keep within reach at least one set of updated copy of all manuals, laws, circulars etc. relevant to your work.  If not, at the least make sure that they are available in the office library.
  2. Make known to all who work for you, the jurisdiction and work allotted to you by designation or by name as per the statute or order.
  3. Please keep the copy of order posting the persons under your direct charge and distribute all your work [except which cannot be delegated] among them in writing. 
  4. Let minutes of meetings be invariably made in respect of all formal or informal meetings/discussions with your subordinates. Minutes to be placed in relevant file wherein action on the basis of conclusions arrived at as a result of such meeting or discussion are taken.
  5. Please subject yourselves to all the regulations you make/implement with regard to entry, attendance, internal movement of files,  use of office infrastructure etc.
  6. Please do all that are needed for improving performance of subordinates as occasion warrants without waiting to write in the annual performance appraisal.
  7. If between the two options if you have to pick up one, it is incumbent upon you to record reasons and apply your mind as to exclusion of other option.
  8. Never decline to receive any representation or communication addressed to you/handed over in person even though the matter does not fall within your purview. You may either get it transmitted to the concerned authority or after assigning the inward correspondence serial number, the original may be returned to the sender as N.Dis. mentioning the reasons therefor.
  9. Shouting at subordinates scares them causing deep scars of burn which according to Thiruvalluvar  seldom disappear. Moreover it is akin to using violence and mental torture which might yield temporary results; but  in the long run would cause manifold negative impact. Psychologically it is the one who is weak and feeble shouts and not the strong willed.  There are better ways and means to get work done.
  10. One such way is to be prompt in attending to the grievance.  It is not out of gratis the subordinates are given their due in time; rather it is also an equally important part of duty.  If you spare 10% of your time everyday to redress any legitimate grievance and give in time their dues or promotions, you will have a reciprocation from almost all the persons working for you.
  11. Be extra lenient in imposing any penalty – as against handing out the deserving harsher punishments–the least punishment available would do the magic of transformation of heart at least in many persons.  In fact deterrents did not work well even during earliest recorded history.
  12. It may be true that ‘familiarity breeds contempt’ but popularity of being a gentle and upright officer wrought great respect and submission than this world dreams of.
  13. Please spend almost all your time in helping your subordinates to work for you with a humble disposition that you are simply the best among the equals in government service.
  14. Try your best to be a role model even in matters of minor importance - punctuality, austerity in using office space, infrastructure etc.

    Administration - General

    "Where any statutory provision provides a particular manner for doing a particular act then that thing or act must be done in accordance with the manner prescribed." 


    • Supervisory officer to nominate a person [with alternative] to be in charge of attendance.
    • Immediately after grace time is over, register to be placed before the Head of office/branch
    • S/He to score out the unmarked lines and append her/his initial at the bottom most line. [This is how s/he marks her/his attendance since traditionally the name of the Head of office is not entered in the attendance register though the office procedure specifically give any exemption. ] 

    Receipt of correspondence:

    • All communications are to be received only by the person(s) assigned with the work. 
    • Any communication marked or addressed to an official cannot be refused to be received for any reason whatsoever. [just as received by post]
    • The section head who will keep the Office Date Stamp and the numbering machine in safe custody will cause the Date seal and number are put thereon and put her/his initial on all communications received and then put up to the head office office/branch.
    • Communications not pertaining to the office may be transmitted to concerned office or returned back to sender by proper endorsement by N.Dis.


    • Office procedure do not provide for issue of acknowledgement by the receiving clerk before assigning 'Inward receipt number' / file number.
    • Statutory acknowledgement [Example: Refund Application] to be issued only by the proper officer as per the law.
    • Etiquette demands that any communication to a government official is to be placed in envelop, sealed and addressed. 
    • Where sender wants acknowledgement for receipt of the envelop, sending by RPAD could be the best option.
    • A formal acknowledgement / interim reply may be sent from the concerned file duly signed by the proper officer.

    Office infrastructure:

    • Telephone, stationery, office machines and vehicles are to be used only for the purpose for which provided.  Any personal use to be paid for.
    • Personal use of office infrastructure to be discouraged since it would eat away the office hours, make them unavailable for office use and would increase office expenses.

Executive Officers

"Be just and fair to all," says the LORD. "Do what is right and good, for I am coming soon to rescue you.  Isaiah 56:1 [NLT]  

Law should always be enforced well within its boundaries alone.  No trespassing by the law enforcement officers allowed!

All laws in force are to be effectively enforced.  There can’t be any selective enforcement of law.   

There can’t be any compelling reason whatsoever to tamper with the fact.Facts are fragile and once altered even a bit, it ceases to be fact any more. There is no alternative to the truth.    

Regularly read matters related to your work and keep abreast of the developments around.

Keep your eyes and ears open to learn a lot from those interacting with you and those around you acting for or against.

Courage is the fourth leg of a bench mark life to stand firm in your convictions without getting discouraged when hindrances surmount.

‘Obey orders and then report’  might become a perfect quote only if you insert the word ‘lawful’ next to ‘obey’. [Judgement]

Around the globe, democracy works and is kept alive primarily by the tireless efforts of dedicated and diligent executive officers.  You only keep the light [freedom to do right] to burn amidst tempest and rain through your commitment.

Ministerial officials

Righteousness exalts a nation. Proverbs 14:34 [ ESV ]

Survival Techniques

Complete reading of News Paper or saying a prayer or meditation [if you have a religious bent of mind] well before the office time starts and never during working hours.

If you are assigned with receiving Tappals, don't decline to receive any communication marked/addressed to you or to your office even though the matter does not fall within your purview. You may either transmit to the concerned authority or  return it to the sender  as N.Dis. briefly mentioning the reasons therefor.

Office Procedure Manual does not provide for issue of acknowledgement by the clerk.  The etiquette is to keep the letter in an envelope, write down the address thereon and hand over or send by post. If acknowledgement is needed, to be sent by RPAD. [Govt. Departments too send by RPAD where ever acknowledgement is required]. A formal acknowledgement / interim reply may be sent from the concerned file duly signed by the proper officer.

Note down the date and time of receipt of the correspondence by you.

Immediately enter the details in prescribed register

If facilities are available, scan and preserve a copy in the Computer System.]

Reduce in writing all telephonic or oral orders given to you and place the same in the respective file duly signed by you.

Keep a copy of the office procedure manual duly updated and if not supplied to individuals, please do collect from the office library and read at least once and take extracts/copies of relevant portions to the work attended to by you. Please do every aspect of office work only according to the procedure prescribed.

Be aware of the places / sections where the relevant Acts/Rules etc. are maintained and kept for reference.

Receive an external correspondence only if it bears date stamp and is marked to you by the proper officer.

Make it a point never to sign with false date.

Do attend the correspondence in the order of receipt unless marked ‘urgent’ by the superiors.

Let no correspondence lie with you for more than a couple of days without any action being initiated. [With regard to files not more than a fortnight’s time] Give due and equal importance to communications received from superiors, from the public or from the staff and none of the papers be allowed unattended for more than a couple of days.

Let all your decisions be rational on the basis of documents placed in file and never respecting to persons.

Please do make use of every minute of working hours to turn out tangible work which would transform the world to be a blissful place to live.

Never tamper with facts – facts are so fragile that even an iota of falsehood would forfeit its nomenclature. 

Never consent to do anything unlawful even if the order comes from very high above.  

If you are not in agreement with your boss in any matter, never lose heart nor lose your temper. Not many things are to be settled at the spurt of that moment itself. Plead for time to present your view point when tempers cool down. In the mean time collect as much information and data possible. By and large you will be able to win over your boss if your stand is reasonable and based on facts. 

Still there is a great need for committed and dedicated workers all around the globe.  You can’t be an exception!

Any help to somebody may be only by walking an extra mile and not by doing anything trespassing the legitimate boundaries. You may at best sit a bit late or skip a lunch to complete a work.

If you are called upon to explain an alleged omission or commission on your part,  your honest reply in writing will not hurt your boss.  On the other hand admission of a guilt is half won battle which would save time and energy of your boss, yourself and the entire official machinery. At the end of your service you would find that you have taken the correct decision indeed.

India was a noble country even before the birth of Jesus Christ. [Mauryan Emperor Asoka in 249 BC]  British rulers not only carried away the physical wealth of our country as a spoil, but also spoiled our superior moral standards by introducing dual standards - one for the rulers themselves and a different one for the ruled -- subjects.   By oversight this anomaly continued  to keep the head and the body apart [civil service and the subordinate service] which is the primary cause for the degeneration.  To rejuvenate India is not an insurmountable task.  We have to make up our mind to leave the artificial inhibitions and try to conform to the law of nature -- the head is attached with the body to live -- the branch is attached to the tree to bear fruit.  There is a saying "branch cannot produce fruit if it is severed from the vine".

In office procedure, seldom there is any double standards prescribed but a false notion is built up and sustained all these years of independence. It is certainly true that the civil service is far more superior than the subordinate service.  But the body provides everything you need, through the limbs -- the hands and legs -- especially your life depends on the heart which is placed in the body.  Interdependence of both the services alone is the only remedy. The head of office shouldn't be a law to herself/himself as if there is 'no asker - no teller' .  The civil servant and the subordinate are government servants, together as a team they accomplish the task assigned.

Attendance is the 'A' word for government service.  How many civil servants mark attendance to become eligible to draw their salary for the number of days worked? Yes! S/He should mark attendance at the bottom as the supervisory officer having come in time. How many does that? As the head of office, he may go out on any assignment but it should be reflected in official records. In Tamil there is a proverb 'muthal kOnal mutrilum kOnal'  which means 'if the starting is faulty, the whole thing becomes faulty'. 

An anecdote of late 1970s is worth remembering. The then Collector of Central Excise ordered that when entering into office, identity cards should be shown to the Control Room Officer.  Mr. R. Ganapathy, a strict disciplinarian, happened to be on duty as the Control Room Officer the next morning.  He demanded  the Collector of Central Excise to produce his id card.  Collector retorted 'Don't you know me?'.  He had said, "Sir! I know you are the Collector.  But I should obey the Collector's Orders.  Show me your id card?" He had demanded again.

It is time we start practicing a single standard for the civil servants and the subordinates in order to alleviate the poverty of the citizens of India and elevate them to the highest standard of life.  The following pages would help you to make it a reality.                       

Subpages (1): Tips - Work with Wisdom