Surviving and Thriving in Public Service

Surviving and Thriving in Public Service


As the global environment grows, public sectors are constantly facing challenges in developing and maintaining competencies among the public servants. In his research, McCleskey, (2014), considered emotional intelligence as an array of competencies and skills that facilitate leadership achievement, and the author categorized the arrays in five concepts. It is also described as the ability to evaluate one’s own as well as other’s emotion to discriminate between them and apply the information to manage one’s own thinking and actions. Leadership is also emotional, and therefore, emotional intelligence theory correlates with leadership. Emotional intelligence involves the ways of recognizing, evaluating, and deciding on how to think. Thus, Emotional intelligence is a productivity improvement theory that will be an efficient resolution to surviving and thriving in public service.

Emotional intelligence theory has been evolving over decades in response perceptions that the construct intelligence does not adequately describe all human ability aspects in all contexts. The theory was later expanded and researched to go beyond the traditional cognitive description of intelligence. Current public sectors need to examine how they can effectively maintain and develop social and emotional skills like self-management, empathy and their ability to build social networks as well as relationships (Vratskikh, Al-Lozi, & Maqableh, 2016)). Lack of emotional intelligence has led to many sectors failing to execute their services to the public and maintain their employees. For public service to survive and thrive, developing emotional intelligence helps in preparing public servants to be high performers.

Emotional intelligence theory seeks to formalize how public servants get along with each other, including how they can manage their emotions in promoting the service. According to Guy & Lee (2015), emotional intelligence has four main domains and eighteen competencies, including Self- management, self-awareness, social awareness, and relationship management. These domains can provide a practical guideline for building communication and leadership skills within a public service sector. This will also help in opening up unconventional thinking and develop public servants’ emotional intelligence. Since most government officials struggle with the urgencies and complexities of effective communication in a competitive world, a small increase in emotional intelligence and human proficiency will assist in making the public service sectors thrive. Therefore, emotional intelligence models are a vital solution that enables thriving and surviving in public service.

Using emotional intelligence theory in public service will help improve workplace performance. Research indicates that the competencies of emotional intelligence directly or indirectly influence workplace performance in one way or another (Guy & Lee, 2015). Often civil servants experience upbeats which are likely to go the extra mile in pleasing the public and therefore improve the services offered to the people. However, a logarithm predicts that a relationship exists, such that for every 1 percent improvement, there is a 2% increase in the quality of service being delivered (Vratskikh, Al-Lozi & Maqableh, 2016)). This means that there is a need for more supportive and empathetic leaders to ensure there is survival in public service. In general, due to more demands of emotional engagement in public service, leaders need to drive the service environment and predisposition the public servants to provide quality services to the people.

In a case whereby public service employees can understand their own emotion and feelings, it is considered a personal skill but being aware of the public sector and administrative units are referred to as social skills necessary in understanding the ethos within which emotion works. Emotional intelligence refers to the level of proficiency through which an individual understands the emotion of others and the way the organization affects them (Guy & Lee, 2015). The emotional intelligence is credited for facilitating the understanding of others, which is reflected as interacting in an organization that is aimed at improving productivity. It also symbolizes the improved relationship as well as a general understanding of each other within the departments.

It is known that any public service sector is far beyond just a working place; hence, emotional intelligence is key in several factors that contribute to the improvement of the service. Emotional intelligence helps public servants in their departments to practice organizational self-awareness (Vratskikh, Al-Lozi & Maqableh, 2016). This which assists in the in-depth knowledge of the strengths and flaws of the organization hence easy determining what is needed for improvements.

Emotional intelligence has the credit of improving social skills. In a public service sector, individuals with good social skills often achieve high in their leadership management since they are intelligent communicators. The leaders with social skills are well versed in conflict resolutions (McCleskey, 2014). They make individuals team members understand the vision of the organization, offers proper enlightenment as well as creating motivation and inspiration among the team members. It is therefore clear that public sectors require individuals with emotional intelligence since they easily win the support of their team and also believes in their leadership. Social skills help in setting acceptable behaviors and values in the organization.

In a government agency, there are public servants of different backgrounds with different views about every aspect. Emotional intelligence makes individuals flexible to changes and adapts to the agency system easily. It also facilitates faster problem solving between these individuals from different cultures where when there is a contrast in understanding (Miao, Humphrey & Qian, 2016). It is credited for assisting in emotional control over certain issues, thus promoting a friendly working environment within the public sector.

With, diversity, collaboration, teamwork, and co-operation are increasingly becoming significant issues in United States public sectors, the interest in corporate skills have also become more vital. In this regard, the position of interpersonal skills in raising a team and individual performance is appropriately recognized in the public sectors. The key to interpersonal skills has been Emotional Intelligence. Generally, emotional intelligence has to with the aptitude of connecting with individuals and understanding their emotions for harmonious co-existence (Miao, Humphrey & Qian, 2016). The notion of high emotional intelligence generating a considerable enthusiasm can lead to professional and personal success among the public servant’s academics, and the general public. Common work-place testimonials allude that; emotional intelligence can lead to a positive performance among the public servants enabling the sectors to thrive (Vratskikh, Al-Lozi & Maqableh, 2016)). Thus emotional intelligence in public service will enhance careers and improve the general quality of work that sustains the sectors.

As the United States continues to experience major developments, both private and public sector organizations should be managed and led in more innovative ways. (Guy & Lee, 2015) Assert that any ignored pulse in the viability of a public sector should read in the typical emotional states of the public servants. To limit the response and understanding from the workplace perspective, civil servants should ignore feelings that facilitate or interfere with the shared goals. The quest of making public administrators, managers, and leaders, to be more emotionally intelligent, is vital for success and should be actively embarked on and pursued in the public service.

The contemporary work rules are in a continuous state of flux with new yardsticks evaluating public servants.  It is increasingly renowned that curriculum vitae, good credentials, and impressive technical skills do not provide direct impact on workers with lower emotional intelligence. Workplaces are all about relationships and people, and public servants with high emotional intelligence should be regarded as valuable assets. Miao, Humphrey & Qian (2016), emphasize that approximately ten percent of success is accounted for by general intelligence accounts, which are defined through occupational status and academic achievement. Similarly, Vratskikh, Al-Lozi, and Maqableh (2016), made strong assertions the role of emotional intelligence as a contributor to the workplace and individual success. Intellectual intelligence contributes to 20 percent of the success in life, while emotional intelligence attributes the rest of 80%. Therefore, emotional intelligence is a vital factor in ensuring success and more so enabling thriving in the public sector.

Over the last ten years, the advent of the emotional intelligence phenomenon has impacted on the traditional perspective of what it takes to be a good and efficient leader. Given that, there has been a rapid increase in the interest in emotional intelligence as different well-known books have been written on the topic. The books describe more of what emotional intelligence, how it can impact the effectiveness of public service, and its importance to the development of leadership. For example, Daniel Goleman co-authored and authored Working with Emotional Intelligence, Emotional Intelligence as well as Primal Leadership (Miao, Humphrey & Qian, 2016). The actual case studies, empirical data, and relevant examples alluded to in each of the literature make strong cases for the significant potential and importance for developing the emotional capabilities that all public servants possess. More government agencies are recognizing that encouraging emotional intelligence skills is a significant component in the management of public sectors. Emotional intelligence theory is thus significant in the public service workplaces and is not only limited, enabling quality service of public servants in government agencies. Above all, it enables the public service to survive and thrive.

In conclusion, emotional intelligence theory is the best improvement model in enabling productivity, survival, and thriving in public service. With the rapid developments in United States public service sectors, there is a need for innovative leadership and management. Researchers present stronger claims on the contribution of emotional intelligence to success in public sectors and individuals. Leaders in the government agencies should develop a range of emotional intelligence competencies to enable them to make choices and asses situations intuitively. Through the competencies and models of emotional intelligence, public sectors will be able to thrive in the competitive environment and solve a multitude of situations.











Guy, M. E., & Lee, H. J. (2015). How emotional intelligence mediates emotional labor in public service jobs. Review of Public Personnel Administration35(3), 261-277.

McCleskey, J. (2014). Emotional intelligence and leadership: A review of the progress, controversy, and criticism. International Journal of Organizational Analysis22(1), 76-93.

Miao, C., Humphrey, R. H., & Qian, S. (2016). Leader emotional intelligence and subordinate job satisfaction: A meta-analysis of the main, mediator, and moderator effects. Personality and Individual Differences102, 13-24.

Vratskikh, I., Al-Lozi, M., & Maqableh, M. (2016). The impact of emotional intelligence on job performance via the mediating role of job satisfaction. International Journal of Business and Management11(2), 69.


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