Emotional competence in public service

Listed below are competencies extracted from the Emotional Competence Framework of the Consortium for Research on Emotional Intelligence in Organizations. They are the competencies that I think matter most to the effectiveness of people who help people.

Outstanding service providers:

  • Realize the links between their feelings and what they think, do, and say
  • Have a guiding awareness of their values and goals
  • Are reflective, learning from experience
  • Are open to candid feedback, new perspectives, continuous learning, and self-development
  • Are able to show a sense of humor and perspective about themselves
  • Can voice views that are unpopular and go out on a limb for what is right
  • Are decisive, able to make sound decisions despite uncertainties and pressures
  • Manage their impulsive feelings and distressing emotions well
  • Stay composed, positive, and unflappable even in trying moments
  • Think clearly and stay focused under pressure
  • Act ethically and are above reproach
  • Build trust through their reliability and authenticity
  • Admit their own mistakes
  • Meet commitments and keep promises
  • Hold themselves accountable for meeting their objectives
  • Are organized and careful in their work
  • Smoothly handle multiple demands, shifting priorities, and rapid change
  • Adapt their responses and tactics to fit fluid circumstances
  • Seek out fresh ideas from a wide variety of sources
  • Entertain original solutions to problems
  • Generate new ideas
  • Are results-oriented, with a high drive to meet their objectives and standards
  • Set challenging goals and take calculated risks
  • Pursue information to reduce uncertainty and find ways to do better
  • Learn how to improve their performance
  • Readily make personal or group sacrifices to meet a larger organizational goal
  • Find a sense of purpose in the larger mission
  • Pursue goals beyond what’s required or expected of them
  • Cut through red tape and bend the rules when necessary to get the job done
  • Persist in seeking goals despite obstacles and setbacks
  • Are attentive to emotional cues and listen well
  • Show sensitivity and understand others’ perspectives
  • Help out based on understanding other people’s needs and feelings
  • Understand the client’s needs and match them to services or products
  • Seek ways to increase the client’s satisfaction
  • Gladly offer appropriate assistance
  • Grasp a client’s perspective, acting as a trusted advisor
  • Are skilled at persuasion
  • Fine-tune presentations to appeal to the listener
  • Are effective in give-and-take, registering emotional cues in attuning their message
  • Deal with difficult issues straightforwardly
  • Handle difficult people and tense situations with diplomacy and tact
  • Orchestrate win-win solutions

In addition, outstanding service leaders:

  • Acknowledge and reward people’s strengths, accomplishments, and development
  • Offer useful feedback and identify people’s needs for development
  • Mentor, give timely coaching, and offer assignments that challenge and grow a person’s skill.
  • Understand the forces that shape views and actions of clients, customers, or competitors
  • Accurately read situations and organizational and external realities
  • Use complex strategies like indirect influence to build consensus and support
  • Listen well and seek mutual understanding
  • Welcome sharing of information fully
  • Foster open communication and stay receptive to bad news as well as good
  • Articulate and arouse enthusiasm for a shared vision and mission
  • Step forward to lead as needed, regardless of position
  • Guide the performance of others while holding them accountable
  • Lead by example
  • Recognize the need for change and remove barriers
  • Challenge the status quo to acknowledge the need for change
  • Champion the change and enlist others in its pursuit
  • Model the change expected of others
  • Spot potential conflict, bring disagreements into the open, and help deescalate
  • Encourage debate and open discussion
  • Build rapport and keep others in the loop
  • Make and maintain personal friendships among work associates
  • Balance a focus on task with attention to relationships
  • Collaborate, sharing plans, information, and resources
  • Promote a friendly, cooperative climate
  • Model team qualities like respect, helpfulness, and cooperation
  • Draw all members into active and enthusiastic participation
  • Build team identity, esprit de corps, and commitment
  • Protect the group and its reputation
  • Share credit

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