Emotional Intelligence in Government Policy: A Game Changer

In this article, we will discuss the importance of emotional intelligence in government policy, how it can be applied, and the potential benefits that can be derived. We will also explore how governments worldwide leverage emotional intelligence in their policy-making processes. So, let us dive into the world of emotional intelligence and its implications for government policy.

Introduction to Emotional Intelligence

What is Emotional Intelligence?

Emotional intelligence (EI) is the ability to recognize, understand, manage, and use our own emotions and those of others healthily and productively. It consists of five core components:

  1. Self-awareness
  2. Self-regulation
  3. Empathy
  4. Social skills
  5. Motivation

Emotional Intelligence and Leadership

Emotional intelligence is a crucial leadership skill, allowing leaders to effectively manage their teams, motivate individuals, and foster a positive working environment. In government policy, EI plays a significant role in guiding decisions and shaping the outcomes of various policies.

Emotional Intelligence in Government Policy

The Role of Emotional Intelligence in Policy-Making

Incorporating emotional intelligence into government policy can have several benefits, including:

  1. Improved decision-making
  2. A better understanding of public sentiment
  3. Enhanced communication
  4. Conflict resolution and negotiation
  5. Greater adaptability to change.

Current Applications of Emotional Intelligence in Government Policy

Governments worldwide are recognizing the importance of emotional intelligence in policy-making, and several examples highlight its effective implementation:

  • In Finland, the government has integrated social and emotional learning (SEL) into its national curriculum.
  • The United Kingdom has introduced mental health and well-being education in schools as part of its broader public health policy.
  • The Australian government has launched the “Emotionally Intelligent Leader” program to develop EI skills among public sector leaders.

How to Implement Emotional Intelligence in Government Policy

Developing Emotionally Intelligent Policies

To create emotionally intelligent policies, governments must consider the following steps:

  1. Understand the emotions and values of the population.
  2. Involve stakeholders in the policy-making process.
  3. Assess the emotional impact of policies on different communities.
  4. Foster empathy and understanding among policy-makers.
  5. Encourage open communication and feedback.

Emotional Intelligence Training for Government Officials

To ensure the effective implementation of emotionally intelligent policies, it is essential to train government officials and leaders in emotional intelligence. This can be achieved through the following:

  1. Emotional intelligence workshops and seminars
  2. Integrating EI into leadership development programs
  3. Encouraging self-assessment and reflection


Emotional intelligence in government policy can transform how policies are created, implemented, and evaluated. By incorporating EI into the policy-making process, governments can better understand the needs and emotions of their citizens, resulting in more effective and empathetic policies. As we navigate an increasingly complex world, governments must prioritize emotional intelligence in their policy-making efforts.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q1: What is emotional intelligence?

Emotional intelligence (EI) refers to the ability to recognize, understand, manage, and utilize our emotions and those of others healthily and productively.

Q2: Why is emotional intelligence important in government policy?

Emotional intelligence is essential in government policy because it allows for improved decision-making, a better understanding of public sentiment, enhanced communication, conflict resolution, and greater adaptability to change.

Q3: How can governments implement emotional intelligence in their policy-making process?

Governments can implement emotional intelligence by understanding the emotions and values of their population, involving stakeholders, assessing the emotional impact of policies, fostering empathy among policy-makers, and encouraging open communication.

Q4: What are some examples of governments incorporating emotional intelligence into their policies?

Some examples include Finland integrating social and emotional learning into its national curriculum, the United Kingdom introducing mental health and well-being education in schools as part of its public health policy, and the Australian government launching the “Emotionally Intelligent Leader” program for public sector leaders.

Q5: How can government officials and leaders be trained in emotional intelligence?

Government officials and leaders can be trained in emotional intelligence through workshops and seminars, integrating EI into leadership development programs and encouraging self-assessment and reflection.

Additional Resources

Citation 1: Joseph, D. L., & Newman, D. A. (2010). Emotional intelligence: an integrative meta-analysis and cascading model. Journal of Applied Psychology, 95(1), 54-78. DOI: 10.1037/a0017286

This meta-analysis by Dana L. Joseph and Daniel A. Newman provides a comprehensive review of emotional intelligence research, integrating various emotional intelligence models and examining their relationships with important outcomes in work and educational settings.

Citation 2: Mayer, J. D., Roberts, R. D., & Barsade, S. G. (2008). Human abilities: Emotional intelligence. Annual Review of Psychology, 59, 507-536. DOI: 10.1146/annurev.psych.59.103006.093646

In this annual review article, Mayer, Roberts, and Barsade provide a thorough overview of emotional intelligence as a human ability. The authors discuss the significance of emotional intelligence in various contexts and its potential applications in different sectors, including government policy-making.

Citation 3: Salovey, P., & Grewal, D. (2005). The science of emotional intelligence. Current Directions in Psychological Science, 14(6), 281-285. DOI: 10.1111/j.0963-7214.2005.00381.x

This article by Peter Salovey and Daisy Grewal summarizes the science behind emotional intelligence, discussing its importance in personal and professional settings. The authors emphasize the value of emotional intelligence in fostering effective communication, decision-making, and leadership, with potential implications for government policymaking.

Citation 4: Brackett, M. A., Rivers, S. E., Shiffman, S., Lerner, N., & Salovey, P. (2006). Relating emotional abilities to social functioning: A comparison of self-report and performance measures of emotional intelligence. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 91(4), 780-795. DOI: 10.1037/0022-3514.91.4.780

This study by Brackett and colleagues compares self-report and performance measures of emotional intelligence, exploring their relationships with various aspects of social functioning. The findings highlight the importance of emotional intelligence in interpersonal relationships, decision-making, and leadership, which can be relevant to government policy-making and implementation.

Citation 5: Goleman, D., & Boyatzis, R. E. (2008). Social intelligence and the biology of leadership. Harvard Business Review, 86(9), 74-81. DOI: 10.1108/02683940910922546

In this Harvard Business Review article, Goleman and Boyatzis discuss the concept of social intelligence and its biological underpinnings. The authors argue that social intelligence, which includes emotional intelligence, is a critical component of effective leadership in various sectors, including government. The article highlights the potential benefits of incorporating emotional intelligence into leadership development and government policymaking.

Additional Resources:

  • Goleman, D. (2006). Emotional intelligence: Why it can matter more than IQ. New York, NY: Bantam Books.
  • Mayer, J. D., Salovey, P., & Caruso, D. R. (2016). The ability model of emotional intelligence: Principles and updates. Emotion Review, 8(4), 290-300. https://doi.org/10.1177/1754073916639667
  • Brackett, M. A. (2019). Permission to feel: Unlocking the power of emotions to help our kids, ourselves, and our society thrive. New York, NY: Celadon Books.
  • Gering, K. H. (2012). Inspiring the wonderment: Emotional intelligence in higher education. College of Professional Studies Professional Projects. Paper 44. https://epublications.marquette.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1043&context=cps_professional
  • Goleman, D., Boyatzis, R., & McKee, A. (2001). Primal leadership: The hidden driver of great performance. Harvard Business Review, 79(11), 42-51.
  • Druskat, V. U., & Wolff, S. B. (2001). Building the emotional intelligence of groups. Harvard Business Review, 79(3), 80-90.
  • David, S., & Congleton, C. (2013). Emotional agility: How effective leaders manage their negative thoughts and feelings. Harvard Business Review, 91(11), 125-130.
  • Greater Good Science Center at UC Berkeley: https://greatergood.berkeley.edu/ The Greater Good Science Center at the University of California, Berkeley, focuses on the scientific study of well-being, happiness, and emotional intelligence. Their website offers a wide range of articles, videos, quizzes, and online courses related to emotional intelligence and its applications in various contexts, including government policy-making and leadership.
  • Emotional Intelligence in Government Leadership: https://www.govexec.com/management/2016/05/why-emotional-intelligence-important-government-leadership/128082/ This article from Government Executive discusses the importance of emotional intelligence in government leadership and provides practical tips for leaders to improve their emotional intelligence skills.

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