For free and fair elections, the electorate has to refuse to be manipulated. The major consideration should be the performance of the electables. The achievers need to be voted into political power to let the process of development and advancement move forward. Objectivity was essential regarding the role of the judiciary and investigating agencies in the recent past, particularly after the Panama papers had affected Pakistan’s politics. The perception of politicised accountability will help the Pakistan Muslim League — Noon (PML-N) get the sympathy vote. There could be consequences. I agree that the party will go into the polls charged and defiant. That will make all the difference, adding a spark to this election. Sharif’s corruption charge had to be proven to the satisfaction of the people. Moreover, it is not corruption that people are focusing on. The people want Pakistan’s major problems and issues resolved. What makes a leader is what the people like to know. Different situations call for different types of leadership. Some situations need a sensitive negotiator at the helm, whereas many turnarounds require a more forceful authority. However, most effective leaders are alike in one crucial way: they all have a high degree of what has come to be known as emotional intelligence. It is not that IQ and technical skills are irrelevant; they do matter, but mainly as “threshold capabilities”. They are entry-level requirements for executive positions. Recent research studies clearly show that emotional intelligence is the sine qua non of leadership. Without it, a person can have the best training in the world, an incisive, analytical mind, and an endless supply of smart ideas, but he still won’t make a great leader. There is a relationship between emotional intelligence and effective performance, especially in leaders. How can you tell if someone has high emotional intelligence, for example, and how can you recognise it in yourself? Research studies strongly suggest that there is a genetic component to emotional intelligence. Studies indicate that nature plays a role as well. Research and practice demonstrate that emotional intelligence can be learned Five components of emotional intelligence at work are self-awareness, self-regulation, motivation, empathy and social skill.Self-awareness could be defined as the ability to recognise and understand your moods, emotions and drives as well as their effect on others. Hallmarks of self-awareness are self-confidence, realistic self-assessment, and a self-deprecating sense of humour. Self-regulation could be defined as the ability to control or redirect disruptive impulses and mood, and the propensity to suspend judgment to think before acting. Hallmarks of self-regulation are trustworthiness and integrity, comfort with ambiguity and openness to change. Motivation could be defined as a passion for working for reasons that go beyond money or status, and a propensity to pursue goals with energy and persistence. Hallmarks are a strong drive to achieve optimism, even in the face of failure and organisational commitment. Empathy could be defined as the ability to understand the emotional makeup of other people. It involves skill in treating people according to their emotional reactions. Hallmarks include expertise in building and retaining talent, cross-cultural sensitivity and service to clients and customers. Social skill is defined as proficiency in managing the relationship and building networks, and an ability to find common ground and building rapport. Hallmarks of cultivating and using social skills include effectiveness in leading change, persuasiveness and expertise in building and leading teams. McClelland’s findings (especially on achievement motivation) uphold the validity and usefulness of all these observations. People in a variety of work situations, including management and governance, can if they take the right approach to develop their emotional intelligence. Self-aware candidates will be frank in admitting to failure and will often tell their tales with a smile. People who have mastered their emotions are able to roll with the changes. They don’t panic. The very word empathy seems out of place amid the tough realities of the marketplace. Social skill is friendliness with a purpose: moving people in the direction you desire. Emotional intelligence can be learned. The process is not easy. It takes time and commitment. For ages, people have debated if leaders are born or made. So too goes the debate about emotional intelligence. Are people born with a certain level of empathy, for example, or do they acquire empathy as a result of life’s experiences? The answer is both. Research studies strongly suggest that there is a genetic component to emotional intelligence. Studies indicate that nature plays a role as well. Research and practice demonstrate that emotional intelligence can be learned. Emotional intelligence increases with age or otherwise stated as maturity. Some people still need the training to enhance their emotional intelligence. Unfortunately, far too many training programmes that are designed to build leadership skill including emotional intelligence are a waste of time and money. The problem is simple: they focus on the wrong part of the brain. Emotional intelligence is born largely in the neurotransmitters of the brains limbic system which governs feelings. Impulse and drives. The limbic system learns best through motivation extended practice and feedback. Training must help people break old behavioural habits and establish new ones. Business executives, civil servants and politicians need to take training courses, which could help develop positive attitudes and behaviours. Unlearning is a difficult process, but it is essential for organisational and cultural development as well the national development on healthy lines. The writer is a former Director, National Institute of Public Administration (NIPA), Government of Pakistan, a political analyst, a public policy expert and an author. His book Post 9/11 Pakistan was published in the United States Published in Daily Times, July 9th 2018.