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Public Health Leadership: Emotional Intelligence Essay


Emotional intelligence (EI) skills are among the most demanded features of a professional from various spheres and occupations. Numerous studies indicate a profound impact of EI on the development of leadership qualities (Caruso, Fleming, & Spector, 2014; Czabanowska, Malho, Schröder-Bäck, Popa, & Burazeri, 2014; McCleskey, 2014). The primary rationale behind writing this paper comprises the demand for a more profound understanding of public health-specific competencies since emotional intelligence plays an immense role in public health (PH) leadership (Czabanowska et al., 2014; Yphantides, Escoboza, & Macchione, 2015). For this study, it is of high importance to discuss four primary elements of EI in the context of their connection to PH leadership. Additionally, this paper aims to provide a personal reflection on both effective and insufficient EI traits along with the discussion of the personal experience of working with a leader with highly developed EI skills.

Emotional Intelligence Components in Public Health Leadership

First of all, it is essential to state four components of emotional intelligence, which are the following: self-awareness, self-management, social awareness, and public management. These elements could be categorized into two primary concepts of (1) ability to understand oneself and (2) the ability to understand other people and interact with them adequately. Self-awareness refers to an internal ability to understand one’s emotions and reactions, which is immensely important for public health leadership. Also, as it is noted by Caruso et al. (2014), the adequate expression of the true self is the key ingredient of establishing trust between leaders and their followers. Self-management comprises control over one’s emotional reactions and the ability to maintain one’s reliability and accountability in different situations. For example, the research by Ramchunder and Martins (2014) reveals that there is a significant positive correlation between EI and self-efficacy (which is a skill related to self-management) on the development of effective leadership, which can be applied to the public health sphere.

Further, it is possible to discuss two elements of emotional intelligence that refer to social skills. First of all, social awareness comprises a strong sense of other’s emotions, developed emphatic skills, and an understanding of other people’s needs and concerns. This component, as well as self-awareness, is essential for a public health leader to invoke trust and compassion in his or her followers, which is shown in the research by Knight et al. (2015). Secondly, relationship management should be mentioned since it comprises the leader’s capability of guiding and developing other people, inspiring them for self-improvement, and building a strong team. The research by Negandhi et al. (2015) indicates the necessity of an interdisciplinary approach to relationship management to develop effective leadership among health practitioners.

Reflection on Personal Emotional Intelligence Traits: Strengths and Weaknesses

In this section, it is necessary to reflect on personal emotional intelligence traits to retrieve my strengths and weaknesses related to EI. In the discussion thread for Module 1, I described the situation in which I am put into the position of a new leader of public health organization. I prepared a summary, discussing several policies and actions which I would implement, including team meetings, brainstorm sessions, and gathering data for further analysis. I learned that I could find proper solutions for the situation in which social activity and providing guidance is needed. Therefore, I consider myself to have significantly developed social components of EI, namely relationship management and social awareness. However, after studying the scholarly literature on the topic, I found out that there is an opportunity for me to improve my self-awareness and self-management because in several situations I could perform better regarding control over my thoughts and emotional reactions.

Personal Experience with Emotional Intelligence Leader

Furthermore, the question of my experience of working with a leader with highly developed EI skills should be discussed. In the period of my internship, I worked with a nurse staffing manager, whose name I’ll change to Kate for confidentiality. It is possible to claim that Kate is among the most influential people that I worked with. Her EI skill was developed to a considerably great extent, especially the aspects of relationship management and social awareness. Her primary responsibility was to schedule the shifts for the clinical staff, and it is evident that such jobs are related to interpersonal conflicts of interests and other difficult decisions. However, Kate was always able to encourage the ones who felt disadvantaged and to establish her position as an efficient public health leader.


Finally, it is possible to retrieve this paper’s main ideas to conclude. First of all, it is evident from this and numerous other studies that EI is of immense importance in developing successful leadership qualities. Secondly, it is particularly apparent that a leader in the public health sphere has a specific set of concerns and responsibilities (Czabanowska et al., 2014). Thirdly, the reflection on personal EI’s strengths and weaknesses along with the personal experience of working for a strong EI leader was given. In conclusion, it is possible to observe that emotional intelligence comprises a significant part of public health leadership.


Caruso, D. R., Fleming, K., & Spector, E. D. (2014). Emotional intelligence and leadership. In Allison S. T. et al. (Eds.), Conceptions of leadership (pp. 93-110). New York, NY: Palgrave Macmillan.

Czabanowska, K., Malho, A., Schröder-Bäck, P., Popa, D., & Burazeri, G. (2014). Do we develop public health leaders? – Association between public health competencies and emotional intelligence: A cross-sectional study. BMC Medical Education, 14(1), 83-90.

Knight, J. R., Bush, H. M., Mase, W. A., Riddell, M. C., Liu, M., & Holsinger, J. W. (2015). The impact of emotional intelligence on conditions of trust among leaders at the Kentucky Department for public health. Frontiers in Public Health, 3, 1-8. Web.

McCleskey, J. (2014). Emotional intelligence and leadership: A review of the progress, controversy, and criticism. International Journal of Organizational Analysis, 22(1), 76-93.

Negandhi, P., Negandhi, H., Tiwari, R., Sharma, K., Zodpey, S. P., Quazi, Z., & Gaidhane, A. (2015). Building interdisciplinary leadership skills among health practitioners in the twenty-first century: An innovative training model. Frontiers in Public Health, 3, 1-7. Web.

Ramchunder, Y., & Martins, N. (2014). The role of self-efficacy, emotional intelligence and leadership style as attributes of leadership effectiveness. SA Journal of Industrial Psychology, 40(1), 01-11. Web.

Yphantides, N., Escoboza, S., & Macchione, N. (2015). Leadership in public health: New competencies for the future. Frontiers in Public Health, 3, 1-3. Web.

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IvyPanda. (2020) 'Public Health Leadership: Emotional Intelligence'. 17 December.

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