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10 Must-Have Qualities of an IAS Officer

Oct 07, 2022

10 Must-Have Qualities of an IAS Officer

To qualify as an IAS officer, academic excellence is not enough. All IAS aspirants are selected provided they have a few inherent qualities. Do you want to know what they are?

Let’s find out!

Clearing the UPSC Civil Services Exam (CSE) and qualifying for the Indian Administrative Service (IAS) is a dream shared by millions of aspirants across and length and breadth of India. 

It is always been one of the preferred career options for the youth of the country. In addition to the great salary and unbeatable benefits, it provides a chance to do real work that helps the citizens at the ground level. By being a part of the government machinery, you get a chance to make a difference in the lives of millions. 

However, it is a coveted position and is not easy to reach. You need more than academic qualifications to be deemed qualified to join the IAS. These are specific inherent or potential qualities that the interview panel looks for in every aspirant. 

Let’s see what qualities are expected in an IAS officer. You can acquire some of these skills by yourself during your UPSC CSE preparation.  

10 Must-Have Qualities of an IAS Officer

1. Presence of Mind

As a civil servant running the country's administration, you are expected to have a strong presence of mind and critical thinking faculties. In your day-to-day routine, you will undoubtedly face situations that require you to make tough choices or make decisions based on ethical standpoints.  

Therefore, at all times, you must have clarity of thought and a thorough understanding of the situation at hand, so that you are able to take the right steps toward solving any problem. 

2. Balanced Worldview 

Since maintaining peace and ensuring societal growth are a few of the key responsibilities of an IAS officer, they are expected to be impartial and unbiased when making decisions. 

For example, if the issue of gender equality, then you must avoid both a patriarchal viewpoint and a radical feminist stance. Instead, your answer should lie somewhere in the middle. All IAS officers are expected to have a balanced point of view regardless of the situation. 

In fact, IAS aspirants are expected to write their Mains exam and present their responses during the Interview Round in the same manner; with a balanced point of view. 

3. Patriotic 

This goes without saying. While you do not be ultra-nationalistic as a person (and it is not advised either), you do need to be patriotic. Without a sense of pride for your country, you will not be able to persevere through the day-to-day tough situations or carry out your everyday duties as an IAS officer. 

This brings out another important point. An IAS officer is responsible for forming policies and implementing them as well. While implementing such policies, one has to keep the nation’s interest ahead of everything else. This is another desirable and essential trait in IAS officers.

Before we move on to the next point, here is a video you will find interesting. If you have started your UPSC CSE 2023 preparation, this is what you need. Mr. Utkarsh Dwivedi, AIR 5, UPSC CSE 2021, will take you through his strategy for GS Paper-I.  


4. Honesty and Integrity

With corruption rife in the country, honesty, and integrity are highly desired qualities in all government servants, whether in the administration, police, or other areas. 

IAS officers, in particular, have tremendous power to deal with this problem. They are responsible for the administration, finance, and law and order of their jurisdictional areas. 

Therefore, they are perfectly equipped to deal with the problem of corruption whenever it appears in front of them.  

5. Accountability 

IAS officers take care of the day-to-day administration of their jurisdiction areas and naturally, anything and everything that goes on within their jurisdiction is their responsibility. 

Whenever a problem arises, IAS officers are expected to take full responsibility for it.  This is reasonable considering an entire area is under their management. Similarly, in moments of triumph, due credit is given to the IAS officer in charge.  

6. Flexible and Decisive 

What happens on paper and what takes place at the ground level are two different realities. In addition, the SOPs issued by the government are liable to change during emergencies or special events. 

As the supreme leader in charge, IAS officers are expected to adapt to such changes easily and without delay. At the same time, they are expected to carry out all of their responsibilities while observing the appropriate ethical norms of conduct. 

In short, it means that once you become an IAS officer, you have to get the job done regardless of the difficulty. This is the kind of responsibility that being a top officer entails.  

7. Commitment 

Once you are in the service of the government, you start working for the people of this country. The issues faced by the citizens are varied and endless.

When you take up this job there will be days when you will have no time to rest. You have to work tirelessly till every aspect of the problem is overcome. 

That is the kind of commitment expected from an IAS officer. When in doubt, remember what Winston Churchill said, “The price of greatness is responsibility.”

8. Practical

 Decision-making is the cornerstone of what an IAS officer does. Therefore, it is critical that you know how to make the right decision.

During the personality test, the panel of judges tries to determine whether a person is fit based on the decision-making process one follows. 

Ideally, as administrators, IAS officers are expected to move forward with the decision that generates the maximum utility. In simple terms, the course of action that is the most practical at that time. 

IAS officers must ensure that all decisions taken should lead to the greater good of the country and its people. 

9. Empathetic and Compassionate 

While being practical is necessary, not every decision should be made with cold logic. The selection panel during the interview round looks for a balance between practicality and compassion so that the end results are balanced. 

A civil servant is expected to demonstrate empathy and compassion in accordance with the rules and regulations of the state. 

10. Communication and Presentation Skills 

Communication skills are one of the essential skills that all administrators must possess. IAS officers have to address large crowds and gatherings, delegate a lot of work across departments and meet with ministers and important stakeholders on a daily basis. 

Without excellent written and verbal communication skills, navigating the day-to-day responsibilities of an IAS officer will become difficult. Therefore, critical writing skills and presentation skills are absolutely essential. 

And that’s it! These are the top 10 qualities that every IAS officer must possess. These are also the defining qualities of a good leader. 

If you do not have these skills now, don’t worry! You can still develop most of these qualities during your preparation itself. Just let our leading UPSC Faculty guide you. Some of them are former civil servants themselves so the quality of advice you will receive will be top-notch! 

And that is not all! You can also get access to exam tips and preparation strategies by 2021 batch IAS officers exclusively on the PrepLadder App and on its YouTube channel. 

Becoming worthy of being an IAS officer takes hard work and dedication. So do not delay your UPSC CSE preparation and download the PrepLadder App now. 

Keep following our posts to know the latest information about the UPSC CSE exam. Join our Telegram channel for UPSC exam preparation tips and stay ahead of the competition. 

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Auther Details

Arindam Goswami

Arindam is a Content Marketer who looks after the Medical Super Specialty segment, specifically the NEET SS category, at PrepLadder. He aims to help aspirants crack exams and realize their dreams through his work.


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