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Smart Employees
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It's important to be a smart employee. Sure, native intelligence and a good education are helpful, but those are not the kind of smarts that really count in the workplace.

For private sector employees, emotional intelligence is the key. The ability to read people, to assess co-workers' emotions, evaluate and control one's own, all tie into the ability to motivate and lead. Success in those areas is what leads to employee satisfaction and promotions.

On the other hand, for public sector employees, high ability in political intelligence is critical to positive attitudes. These employees will use influence and manipulation, strategy and tactics, to achieve higher status. Their feelings of success and self-worth are linked to the ability to surf the political waves, make the right friends, manage the internal politics. Their emotional intelligence does little for them and their co-workers; political skills vis-a-vis higher ups are what count.

I remember when I was working with Deloitte and Touche contract employees, they asked me constantly things like who held the real power, whom should they approach to get this done, where were the political pitfalls. Smart guys--they knew those were the political skills needed to get the project through the bureaucratic maze, avoiding the snake pits along the way.

So having emotional intelligence will tend to make employees more satisfied with their jobs and more productive--but only if they work in the private sector. To succeed in the public sector they must have well-honed political skills.

Personal sense of worth and fulfillment? More likely found in the private sector, not the public.

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