What is the application of Emotional Intelligence in Indian Civil services during their interaction with the public. How Civil Servants without Emotional Intelligence may not be able to help the people

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As an aspirant of the Union Public Service Commission, the understanding and practice of Emotional Intelligence (EI) is essential in the face of administrative roles and public service commitments. Emotional Intelligence, initially proposed by psychologist Daniel Goleman, underscores the ability to recognise, comprehend and manage our emotions, also enabling us to handle interpersonal relationships judiciously and empathetically.

In this article, we will discuss the importance of Emotional Intelligence in Indian Civil Services, particularly during the interaction with the public. We will also elucidate how the lack of Emotional Intelligence may prove to be a stumbling block for Civil Servants in aiding the public.

Broadly, Emotional Intelligence encompasses five characteristics and abilities, which include self-awareness, self-regulation, motivation, empathy, and social skills. Here’s how these attributes are applied in the practical aspects of Civil Services in an Indian context.

1. Self-Awareness: Civil Servants need to have a profound understanding of their strengths, weaknesses, emotions, and drives. A District Collector, for instance, when aware of his emotions, can better manage distressing situations like natural disasters. This self-comprehension enables administrators to undertake decisions wisely and effectively.

2. Self-Regulation: It implies controlling or redirecting disruptive impulses and emotions, keeping in check the personal bias. For example, an IPS officer during a riot situation is expected to handle himself, the team and the situation meticulously, keeping personal emotions and prejudices away.

3. Motivation: A civil servant like an IAS officer must exhibit a passion for public services, regardless of monetary gains. An intrinsic motivation to work for societal betterment defines a perfect civil servant.

4. Empathy: This is one of the most crucial aspects of Emotional Intelligence. Civil servants should be capable of understanding the emotional makeup of other people, as this attribute would aid in serving the public better. An empathetic civil servant, such as a District Magistrate, could substantially help in voicing the unheard pleas of marginalised sections and in making policies that cater to their needs.

5. Social Skills: Effective communication to build rapport and manage relationships is pivotal for a civil servant. An officer with excellent social skills is apt in networking, managing disputes, fostering change and leading collectively.

On the flip side, the absence of Emotional Intelligence in Civil Servants can create several pitfalls in performing their duties and delivering public services. Without self-awareness, civil servants might fail to recognise their role in tackling public grievances. The lack of self-regulation could lead to biased decisions, detrimental to communal harmony and societal well-being.

Absent motivation can result in a lackadaisical attitude towards public duties. The lack of empathy may prevent them from understanding the public’s issues and needs, thus making policy-making a one-sided affair. Lastly, without social skills, building productive relationships with individuals and managing teams or leading change becomes a complicated task.

In conclusion, Emotional Intelligence isn’t merely a desirable attribute but a vital necessity in the Indian Civil Services. The challenges that civil servants face are multi-faceted and complex, demanding more than just administrative skills. An emotionally intelligent civil servant not only ensures apt decision-making but also weaves stronger societal bonds, promoting overall growth and harmony. Hence, as a UPSC aspirant, it would be beneficial to understand, learn and imbibe Emotional Intelligence for an effective administrative role in serving the country.

Prince Luthra (UPSC CSE AIR 577)

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