朝邦文教基金會 CP Yen Foundation

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6月份電子報: 公務人的力與愛 - 我的觀察與反思

公務人的力與愛 - 我的觀察與反思

朝邦文教基金會董事  陳明勇引導師


去年朝邦訪談馮燕前政委時(全文參見9月份對話訊息「公部門溝通的創新作法」) 她說:

如果他(公務人員)不能了解你,他跟你之間沒有關係,你們只是公文往返,不曾有機會對話。那麼他恪遵職守、秉持依法行事的原則, 很可能就築了一道牆,就把你阻隔在牆外。

但是如果你可以主動跟他連結,和他對話。讓他了解你的需求、你的期待,也希望他能一起 和你完成對於公眾有利益的事情。

那麼他可能會主動為你造一座橋,讓你能跨越橫溝,順利到達目的地……

對於這段馮前政委深刻體悟的話,一直掛念、思索 :我們這麼多優秀的公務人員為什麼在運作國家這座龐大的機器時,無法發揮團結力量大的最佳綜效?

直到反覆閱讀到「力與愛」書中,作者:亞當.卡漢所引用保羅.田力克提出的:「權力為驅動自我實現的動力,而愛則是將分離的區塊結合起來的動力」這段文字,又聯想這幾年和公務人合作的幾次經驗時,才讓我遍思不著的答案,逐漸浮現。

這幾年,朝邦有機會為某些中央部會進行會議引導,每次都會感受到我們政府中央部會級的公務人員們,是一群非常優秀、使命感強烈公僕,也非常盡責於自己的工作職責和任務。

因此,不論是長官指示或者為組織的使命,一定會想盡辦法地達成任務。同時,也看見他們為實現自我,而有強烈的成就驅動力。不過在達成任務過程中,對於橫向的溝通、連結,卻顯得缺乏。

每當我們在了解組織的需求和目標之後,就會依據他們的現況和條件,去設計會議的引導流程,並且在會議進行之中,加入幾項重要的元素。其中,「創造對話與連結」是非常重要的功能,如田力克所說:「激發公務人去完成自己的目標,將看似獨立的功能再度連結」。藉對話的機會了解自己與組織分別想要達成的目標,找到融合的途徑,正是體驗力與愛的大好機會。

還有一次,一位部長在特地規劃的年度共識營中,想安排讓各局、處、國營事業的高階主管,分享各自公務生涯的寶貴心得。在得知這項重要需求後,向承辦人建議更改原訂主管們分享的流程。當天在我們的引導之下,各主管盡情分享各自的公務生涯高峰經驗時,我們觀察到現場高階主管們高度參與、投入,並專注聆聽彼此。其中一位已經投入公務生涯 30年的主管當場表示:以前因為專案曾幾次和景仰已久某某局長有過接觸,可是不曾像今天可以面對面深入了解他的心聲,還親自聽到這麼寶貴的公務經驗。

在現場我們感受到他們的個體,正透過對話在彼此深刻地連結,讓他們不再只是各局、處、事業,而是合而為一的部會,有一個「生成性的力與愛」形成,而且有一個共同的願景,和可以攜手共創的未來。

另有一次引導不同部會,以及所轄的局、處主管近百人,進行的一場規劃未來四年中期施政計畫共識營。這些公務人當中,六成以上的學歷是博士,經常埋首於崗位上,費盡心思找出達成目標和肩負任務的方法,但過程中決不逾越職責,同時遵守公務倫理(只要有主管發言表達主張,就不便提出異議)。

就在那兩天共識營幾階段流程中,參與者感到現場開放但有結構性的對話,而且在多次不同的議題中可以彼此聆聽和各自表達意見。讓他們從狐疑到安心打開話夾子,從拘謹面對高階主管到侃侃提出主張,也明顯感受到他們正鬆動原來僵硬、有距離的層級權力結構,而逐漸連結貌似分離的功能部門,進而營造出融合、無阻礙的對話新實境。如亞當.卡漢所見證過「共同展開對話、凝聚集體智慧、解決未來最爭議的挑戰」。

今年初在一次跨部會會議的需求確認前,明顯感受我們被某單位隔阻在牆外,令我們在規劃那次的會議流程時格外戰戰兢兢。

所幸引導的魔力,點化了會議現場的所有參與者,促進彼此正向的對話、創造人與人之間真誠連結。不再是「毫無節制、濫用無愛的權力」,像是隔牆對話;而是「關懷、了解他人與人密切的連結」,如同一起立於橋中央,共同觀看遠山、擘畫山間裡,討論如何修築便民通行的道路、橋樑。

殷殷期盼,不論三次政黨輪替所帶給公務人的影響和衝擊下為何,公務人在位居權力結構中,不斷驅動實踐自我的同時,如能多考量、連結各方相關利益人的需求,也保持開放、包容多元的觀點去對話,連結並創造出有正面的生成力。相信,尋求最大公約數、創造最多民眾的利益,是指日可待。

註:朝邦基金會出版的新書:「力與愛」,於105年 3月問世

Power and Love for Civil Servants:
my observations and reflections

By: 陳明勇, Facilitator and Director at CP Yen Foundation

The September Issue of Dialogue News: "Innovative Ways of Communication... highlighted an interview with Dr. Joyce Yen Feng, former Minister without Portfolio at Executive Yuan.  In this interview Dr. Feng Yen stated that If communication among civil servants feels blocked, focus on the relationship between the two of you. Oftentimes, the only things exchanged among civil servants are official documents, and not conversations; this often causes friction as each side tries to do their best, but are not in alignment with one another. Yet if you can connect and talk with one's counterparts, you would be mutually better able to understand each sides' needs and expectations.  Your counterparts would also be more willing to work with you to accomplish tasks that benefit the public and build bridges which help to overcome obstacles and reach goals.

I've been pondering Minister Feng's insight over and over, wondering: What actually prevents outstanding civil servants from achieving synergetic results inside our gigantic government machine? The answer revealed itself as I repeatedly read the book “Power and Love”. In the book, author Adam Kahane pointed to Paul Tillich’s definition of power as “the drive of everything living to realize itself” and love as “the drive towards the unity of the separated.” As I reflected upon the experiences of working with civil servants over the years, these words began to make more sense to me.

The CP Yen Foundation has in recent years had the opportunity to facilitate a number of inter-ministerial meetings at the national level. During these meetings, I have always felt deeply impressed by how excellent, mission-oriented, and responsible Taiwan's civil servants are. They work hard to achieve the objectives set out by the organisation and their supervisors. They are also strongly driven by their own desire for self-actualisation. I also became increasingly aware of the lack of communication and connection among them.

In our facilitation processes we first try to understand the needs and objectives of the organisations with whom we are working. After that, we would create a facilitation design according to the current reality of the organisation.  During these processes, dialogues with member of the organisation are essential elements in each meeting.  

I remember a particular case in which we were facilitating an annual consensus building workshop. A government minister wanted the senior executives from various departments, bureaus, and groups to discuss their experiences of working as civil servants. During our facilitation we observed that all the participating senior executives were extremely engaged and were listening attentively to one another. One of the executives who served in the public sector for over 30 years told us that he had already worked with one of the heads of a bureau on a number of occasions, but he had never spoken face-to-face with him to learn about his feelings; and that he was excited to learn so much about other people’s experiences as well.  

As the participants shared their stories, we could sense the dialogue connecting them ever more profoundly together.  No longer were they individual parts of their separate departments, bureaus, and groups, but became parts of a collective whole which has a common vision of a future which they could work toward together.

In another inter-ministerial meeting of nearly a hundred participants, we facilitated a consensus-building workshop to plan policy for the next four years. We observed that among the participating civil servants more than 60% held doctoral degrees, that they were devoted to their jobs, and were constantly seeking the best ways within their areas of responsibility to achieve the targets set out by their supervisors.

During the meetings, the participants expressed that they felt an openness of space to be engaged in constructive dialogues, to discuss various issues, to listen to others while advocating their own points as well, to suspend their doubts and to open up. Over the course of the dialogue, the participants’ attitudes changed from cautious to increasingly open and willing to share their thoughts. During the process, the distance and power structures in the group seemed to break down. The departments which had originally felt separate began to discover their commonalities which enabled a more harmonious and obstacle-free setting for the dialogues to emerge.

Earlier this year, while preparing for a different inter-ministerial meeting, we felt resistance towards participation from some departments. So, we planned the agenda carefully.  Fortunately, the magic of facilitation really motivated all the participants to become increasingly and more fully involved in the meeting. Ultimately they were able to dialogue in a positive way and to develop an authentic connection with one another. The resistance that we once felt evolved into a bridge, enabling the participants to discuss how they could build actual bridges and roads to make urban commuting easier for their residents.

In light of the new government leadership after the election, regardless of how the change of government may change the work of civil servants, by being sensitive to the needs of stakeholders, maintaining an open and accepting perspective in our dialogues, and respecting people’s natural drive for self realisation, we would collectively have a much easier time in finding ways to meet the interests of the whole group.

 

Note: CP Yen’s new book “Power and Love” was published in March, 2016.   You can purchase "Power and Love" at Books.com, click here for direct link.。

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