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The Dark Side of Emotional Intelligence - Adam Grant - The Atlantic

Stashed in: Leadership!, Influence!, Emotion, Empathy, Ethics, Intelligence, Morals, Give and Take, Emotional Intelligence, Values

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Emotional intelligence is important, but the unbridled enthusiasm has obscured a dark side. New evidence shows that 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.

Social scientists have begun to document this dark side of emotional intelligence. In emerging research led by University of Cambridge professor Jochen Menges, when a leader gave an inspiring speech filled with emotion, the audience was less likely to scrutinize the message and remembered less of the content. Ironically, audience members were so moved by the speech that they claimed to recall more of it.

The authors call this the awestruck effect, but it might just as easily be described as the dumbstruck effect. One observer reflected that Hitler’s persuasive impact came from his ability to strategically express emotions—he would “tear open his heart”—and these emotions affected his followers to the point that they would “stop thinking critically and just emote.”

Leadership should not be by any means necessary.

Leaders should not mesmerize followers into doing things.

There's a line between encouraging and manipulating. Leaders should encourage, not manipulate.

But since leaders get evaluated on results, that turns out to be a fine line in a lot of cases.

Thanks to more rigorous research methods, there is growing recognition that emotional intelligence—like any skill—can be used for good or evil. 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. As Professor Kilduff and colleagues put it, it is high time that emotional intelligence is “pried away from its association with desirable moral qualities.”

There's not a lot of ethics, good and evil, right and wrong taught in schools.

I guess teachers depend on parents to teach that?

Parents primarily are responsible but it takes a village - coaches, teachers, extended family.  By our example we teach everyone's children.  

In that case right and wrong is strangely missing from school curricula. 

I believe that every skill can be used for good or evil. A skill such as EQ (just like IQ) can be wielded to serve our fellow man or harm them. I agree that it is up to parents, coaches, teachers, and mentors to provide wisdom and moral guidance to the next generation when it comes to leveraging these abilities. In the end, though, I do believe increasing our EQ has the potential for much good. As Daniel Goleman stated in his original writing, Emotional Intelligence, the greatest needs of our day are empathy and self-control. It seems that if someone were to truly embrace these foundational qualities of EQ, they would be more likely to do good than evil.

Oh, honey....

It's a good question: Does EQ promote good over evil? Will keep my eyes open for more articles.

The Adam Grant article does suggest that high EQ can be used for evil -- just like high IQ can be used.

Emotions are the fabric we use to construct reality...and convey it.

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