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State PCS

Mains Practice Questions

  • Q. What do you understand by the term 'emotional intelligence'? How does it differ from general intelligence (IQ)? Explain with examples how emotional intelligence can be useful for a civil servant in dealing with various stakeholders.

    25 May, 2023 GS Paper 4 Theoretical Questions


    • Start with a brief introduction that defines emotional intelligence and states its difference from general intelligence in a nutshell.
    • Divide the body of the answer into two main parts:
      1. Elaborate the difference between emotional intelligence and general intelligence.
      2. Give examples of how emotional intelligence can be useful for a civil servant.
    • Conclude by summarizing the main points of the answer and highlight the importance of emotional intelligence for a civil servant.


    Emotional intelligence (EI) is the ability to recognize, understand and manage one's own emotions as well as being able to understand and influence the emotions of others. It involves being aware that emotions drive behaviors and impact people either positively or negatively. EI differs from general intelligence (IQ) which measures one's cognitive abilities such as reasoning, memory, and problem-solving.


    Difference between EI and IQ:

    • EI is more about how one uses one's intelligence rather than how much intelligence one has. IQ is a measure of one's potential intelligence rather than how one applies it.
    • EI is more flexible and can be improved through learning and practice. IQ is more stable and largely determined by genetics and early childhood development.
    • EI is more contextual and depends on the situation and the people involved. IQ is more universal and applies across different domains and tasks.
    • EI is more relevant for interpersonal and social skills that are essential for success in life and work. IQ is more relevant for academic and technical skills that are important for learning and knowledge.

    Examples of How emotional intelligence can be useful for a civil servant:

    • Empathy and Understanding: Civil servants with high emotional intelligence understand stakeholders' perspectives, needs, and concerns. They respond sensitively to emotions and empathize with citizens affected by policy changes, leading to better engagement and cooperation.
    • Conflict Resolution: Emotional intelligence helps civil servants manage conflicts effectively by remaining calm, finding common ground, and understanding each party's emotions and motivations. This facilitates constructive dialogue and mutually beneficial solutions.
    • Collaboration and Teamwork: Emotional intelligence helps civil servants work effectively in diverse teams by building rapport, communicating well, and valuing others' emotions and strengths. This fosters a positive and inclusive work environment, enhancing teamwork and productivity.
    • Leadership and Influence: Emotional intelligence is crucial for civil servants in leadership positions. It enables them to inspire and motivate their teams, communicate their vision, build trust, and influence stakeholders to support policy initiatives and organizational goals.


    Emotional intelligence is a valuable skill for a civil servant as it helps him/her to deal with various stakeholders in an effective and constructive manner. It also helps him/her to perform better in his/her duties and achieve personal and professional goals. Emotional intelligence can be developed through continuous learning, reflection, and practice.

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