General Studies Paper 4 (Ethics): Emotional Intelligence

Emotional Intelligence

IAS Junior Mains Answer Writing June-Sep 2019 Schedule (Click Here)


Syllabus: General Studies Paper 4 (Ethics)


A Civil servant job is to implement the laws and policies in word and in spirit. If that is the case, then why do civil servants need to have emotional intelligence? Substantiate.



Emotional Intelligence (EI) is the ability to sense, understand and effectively apply the power and acumen of emotions as a source of human energy, information, connection and influence. It is the way of recognizing, understanding and choosing how we think, feel and act. Simply put, Emotional Intelligence can be defined as application of state of mind for fruitful purposes.


Emotional intelligence (EI) is, in layman’s terms, our level of ability to:

  • Recognize and understand our emotions and reactions (self-awareness)
  • Manage, control, and adapt our emotions, mood, reactions, and responses (self-management)
  • Harness our emotions to motivate ourselves to take appropriate action, commit, follow-through, and work toward the achievement of our goals (motivation)
  • Discern the feelings of others, understand their emotions, and utilize that understanding to relate to others more effectively (empathy)
  • Build relationships, relate to others in social situations, lead, negotiate conflict, and work as part of a team (social skills)

Generally, we negate the role played by EI in governance, but it helps overcome complexities that surround the present-day governance. The importance of EI for bureaucrat is shown by the following reasons-

Need for Emotional intelligence in civil services.

  • Social responsibility
    • When a leader cares about others, he is not a centre of attention and keeps everyone in the loop by making their intentions known.
  • Stress tolerance
    • To stay focused, stress should be managed and it involves own reactions to stress or the reactions of others to the stress.
  • Impulse control
    • Independent people evaluate the alternatives and initiate the work by taking appropriate action by executing the right options. People who manage their impulses avoid being distracted and losing control of the situation.
  • Helps in self-regulation
    •  If a bureaucrat is frustrated by his subordinate, whose performance has been poor.
    • If bureaucrat shows frustration and yells at the subordinate, this might affect the subordinate’s performance in a poor way, if bureaucrat sits down with him and discuss the reasons for under performance and understand it, this diagnosis will help him fix the issues.
    • This will yield better performance by subordinates and efficient working environment (esprit de corps). A self-regulated bureaucrat can infuse the same amongst his/her subordinates.
  • Conflict Resolution
    • When we can discern people’s emotions and empathize with their perspective, it’s much easier to resolve conflicts or possibly avoid them before they start.
    • We are also better at negotiation due to the very nature of our ability to understand the needs and desires of others. It’s easier to give people what they want if we can perceive what it is.
  • Better social capital
    • this will improve the interdepartmental cooperation, a bureaucrat must have to deal and work with many other ministries/ departments, hence better use of EI and relations with bureaucrats of other departments and yield better results.
  • Empathy
    •  for civil servant demolishing roadside building must empathize with the plight if those shopkeepers (by providing proper compensation and rehabilitation). Otherwise, he might not receive the support from them and this would in turn lead to a conflict.
  • Motivation
    •  If a bureaucrat can condition others emotions (peers, students, vulnerable etc.) such that they urge for higher achievement.
  • Focus/ Concentration
    • If civil servant can control his emotions and stick to his goals with unwavering attention (may be due to threats, abuse) can help him achieve his targets.
  • Sensitive issues
    •  issues such as communal tensions, mob lynching, and disasters can be dealt in a better way.
  • Stress Management
    •  when there exists mismatch between expectations and reality or shortage of time to implement, an emotionally intelligent person would not surrender himself to anxiety but rather control it and get out of the box ideas.
  • Civil service values
    • foundational values like empathy & Compassion, tolerance, impartiality requires EI. 
  • Optimism
    • this helps bureaucrat by convincing him that every problem has a solution and makes him search for solutions in all possible places and achieve the objective. 
  • Success
    • Higher emotional intelligence helps us to be stronger internal motivators, which can reduce procrastination, increase self-confidence, and improve our ability to focus on a goal.
    • It also allows us to create better networksof support, overcome setbacks, and persevere with a more resilient outlook.
    • Our ability to delay gratification and see the long-term directly affects our ability to succeed.



Daniel Goleman asserts that 80% of success at workplace is due to emotional quotient and 20% due to intelligence quotient. Intelligence quotient alone cannot solve majority of problems a bureaucrat faces, use of emotional intelligence is a must for better public service delivery as well as Redressal.


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