More on the dark side of emotional intelligence

Más sobre el lado oscuro de la inteligencia emocional

Three years ago (how time flies), I published in this blog post the review of a study that analyzed the face more negative emotional intelligence. According to the authors, the ability to regulate one’s own emotions may foster the attainment of both good and bad purposes, strengthening the relationship between certain personality traits and behaviors pro-and anti-social.

Well: recently I came accross an article published in The Atlantic written by the professor in management and psychology Adam Grant, who shows us what the latest research have to say about the dark side of emotional intelligence.

According to Grant, the new evidence shows that

when people hone their emotional skills, they become better manipulators of the other. When are you good at controlling your own emotions, you can hide your true feelings. When you know what others are feeling, you can touch their fibres sensitive and to motivate them to act against their own interests.

when people hone their emotional skills, they become better at manipulating others. When you’re good at controlling your own emotions, you can disguise your true feelings. When you know what others are feeling, you can tug at their heartstrings and motivate them to act against their own best interests.

And Grant mentions interesting studies to support this claim. For example: according to the professor of Cambridge Jochen Menges, when a leader gives a speech full of emotion, it is less likely that the hearing examine critically their contents and, what is more, it is less likely that you remember (although, paradoxically, the audience claims that he remembers better).

Grant says the study that has already received attention on this blog, and as I said above had established the relationship between the ability to regulate emotions and type of character of the individual.

when people have reasons in their own benefit, emotional intelligence becomes a weapon to manipulate others.

when people have self-serving motives, emotional intelligence becomes a weapon for manipulating others.

Another interesting study was carried out by Martin Kilduff, University College London. According to Kilduff, the emotional intelligence allows us to express a set of emotions at the same time they repress it, so that the emotionally intelligent can be shaped intentionally for the opinion we form of them:

The concealment strategy of the own emotions and the manipulation of the emotions of the other for a strategic purpose are behaviors evident not only in the drama of Shakespeare, but also in the offices and corridors where it is traded with the power and influence.

The strategic disguise of one’s own emotions and the manipulation of others’ emotions for strategic ends are behaviors evident not only on Shakespeare’s stage but also in the offices and corridors where power and influence are traded.

It has often been pointed out, the benefits and the need to incorporate emotional intelligence in working life, but according to Grant, this largely depends on the type of work. Dana Joseph and Daniel Newman came to this conclusion after examining 191 different jobs: in jobs which are clearly emotions occupy a central place, such as sales, call centers,… emotional intelligence is an increase in efficiency; on the contrary, in those positions in which the emotional demands are lower, such as mechanical, science, insurance,… emotional intelligence represents a decrease in performance:

an explanation promising is that these employees were paying attention to emotions when they should be focused on their tasks. If your job is to analyze data or to repair cars, you can distract a lot of reading facial expressions, tones of voice and the body language of the people around you. To suggest that emotional intelligence is critical in the workplace, perhaps we have put the cart before the horse.

one promising explanation is that these employees were paying attention to emotions when they should have been focusing on their tasks. If your job is to analyze data or repair cars, it can be remove distracting to read the facial expressions, vocal tones, and body languages of the people around you. In suggesting that emotional intelligence is critical in the workplace, perhaps we’ve put the cart before the horse.

In short, as Grant says:

Instead of assuming that emotional intelligence is always useful, we need to think more carefully about where and when it matters. So if we’re going to teach emotional intelligence in school and to develop it in the work, we need to consider the values that accompany it and where is useful really.

Instead of assuming that emotional intelligence is always useful, we need to think more carefully about where and when it matters. […] So if we’re going to teach emotional intelligence in schools and develop it at work, we need to consider the values that go along with it and where it’s actually useful.

 

 

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