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Wanted: Public Officials with Emotional Intelligence

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It was front-page news in the New York Times that NYC Mayor-elect Eric Adams said that emotional intelligence is his “No. 1 criteria” for selecting top officials in his administration.  He decided that top administration officials

must be filled by the “emotionally intelligent,” deliberately downplaying more commonplace credentials, like academic achievement and government experience.

“If you don’t understand going through Covid, losing your home, living in a shelter, maybe losing your job, going through a health care crisis, if you don’t empathize with that person, you will never give them the services that they need,” he added.

His reliance on the unconventional-for-government “emotional intelligence” metric reflects the outlook of a Black man who grew up in a working-class environment in Queens, rising from police captain to state senator, to Brooklyn borough president and then mayor-elect.

“My criteria for those who are coming into my office is that they must be able to manage their emotion, manage how they handle themselves, be able to interact with the very difficult environment that they are about to encounter,” Mr. Adams said.

It’s a sad commentary that this perspective is so unusual that it’s breaking news.

Take a look.

                        author

John Lande

John Lande is the Isidor Loeb Professor Emeritus at the University of Missouri School of Law and former director of its LLM Program in Dispute Resolution.  He received his J.D. from Hastings College of Law and Ph.D in sociology from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.  He began mediating professionally in 1982 in California.… MORE >

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