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  1. #1
    Symbolic Herald Vasilisa's Avatar
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    Default The Dark Side of Emotional Intelligence

    The Dark Side of Emotional Intelligence
    ADAM GRANT
    JAN 2 2014
    The Atlantic

    Excerpt:
    * * *
    Since the 1995 publication of Daniel Goleman’s bestseller, emotional intelligence has been touted by leaders, policymakers, and educators as the solution to a wide range of social problems. If we can teach our children to manage emotions, the argument goes, we’ll have less bullying and more cooperation. If we can cultivate emotional intelligence among leaders and doctors, we’ll have more caring workplaces and more compassionate healthcare. As a result, emotional intelligence is now taught widely in secondary schools, business schools, and medical schools.

    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 researchled 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.”

    Leaders who master emotions can rob us of our capacities to reason. If their values are out of step with our own, the results can be devastating. New evidence suggests that when people have self-serving motives, emotional intelligence becomes a weapon for manipulating others. In a study led by the University of Toronto psychologist Stéphane Côté, university employees filled out a survey about their Machiavellian tendencies, and took a test measuring their knowledge about effective strategies for managing emotions. Then, Cote’s team assessed how often the employees deliberately undermined their colleagues. The employees who engaged in the most harmful behaviors were Machiavellians with high emotional intelligence. They used their emotional skills to demean and embarrass their peers for personal gain. In one computer company studied by Tel-Aviv University professor Gideon Kunda, a manager admitted to telling a colleague “how excited we all are with what he is doing,” but at the same time, “distancing my organization from the project,” so “when it blows up,” the company’s founder would blame the colleague.

    Shining a light on this dark side of emotional intelligence is one mission of a research team led by University College London professor Martin Kilduff. According to these experts, emotional intelligence helps people disguise one set of emotions while expressing another for personal gain. Emotionally intelligent people “intentionally shape their emotions to fabricate favorable impressions of themselves,” Professor Kilduff’s team writes. “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.”

    Of course, people aren’t always using emotional intelligence for nefarious ends. More often than not, emotional skills are simply instrumental tools for goal accomplishment. In a study of emotions at the Body Shop, a research team led by Stanford professor Joanne Martin discovered that founder Anita Roddick leveraged emotions to inspire her employees to fundraise for charity. As Roddick explained, “Whenever we wanted to persuade our staff to support a particular project we always tried to break their hearts.” However, Roddick also encouraged employees to be strategic in the timing of their emotion expressions. In one case, after noticing that an employee often “breaks down in tears with frustration,” Roddick said it was acceptable to cry, but “I told her it has to be used. I said, ‘Here, cry at this point in the ... meeting.” When viewing Roddick as an exemplar of an emotionally intelligent leader, it becomes clear that there’s a fine line between motivation and manipulation. Walking that tightrope is no easy task.

    In settings where emotions aren’t running high, emotional intelligence may have hidden costs. Recently, psychologists Dana Joseph of the University of Central Florida and Daniel Newman of the University of Illinois comprehensively analyzed every study that has ever examined the link between emotional intelligence and job performance. Across hundreds of studies of thousands of employees in 191 different jobs, emotional intelligence wasn’t consistently linked with better performance. In jobs that required extensive attention to emotions, higher emotional intelligence translated into better performance. Salespeople, real-estate agents, call-center representatives, and counselors all excelled at their jobs when they knew how to read and regulate emotions—they were able to deal more effectively with stressful situations and provide service with a smile.

    However, in jobs that involved fewer emotional demands, the results reversed. The more emotionally intelligent employees were, the lower their job performance. For mechanics, scientists, and accountants, emotional intelligence was a liability rather than an asset. Although more research is needed to unpack these results, 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 quite 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.

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  2. #2
    WhoCares
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    Wow, it only took 20yrs for them to realise that book is a tool for sociopaths...way to go. Of course any skill can be used for personal gain and where most people are concerned personal gain is a goal. Funnily enough I work a job where emotional intelligence must rate high on the must haves and high performing list. But my observation is that the most effective on my team are usually the least emotionally switched on. The reason why I say that is because people throw their emotions at you all day, if you get wrapped up in the neverending neediness of the people we deal with you cannot focus on the tasks at hand. Attention whoring is very prevalent in western society, so people try to play on our sympathies all day long in order to get free stuff and attention from it. You have to be able to shut down the heart strings until you find someone who truly needs it.

    The truly needy rarely ask, they suffer in silence but you can always tell they are in pain. They are the ones to spend what little time you have with, to make the little extra effort and to read their needs and accomodate them. People who are too emotionally open in this job burn out quickly or they become bitter at speed rendering them ineffective. They also take it hard when someone plays them and tend to carry that venom with them all day instead of brushing it off. I find that task orientated people are efficent and effective while still having the nous to notice a real need and attend to it.

  3. #3
    reborn PeaceBaby's Avatar
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    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.
    That's exactly right. But it's obvious, no? Nice little article though, I agree that for too long EI has been touted as some sort of panacea for workplace harmony.
    "Remember always that you not only have the right to be an individual, you have an obligation to be one."
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    other things become ugly.
    When people see some things as good,
    other things become bad."
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  4. #4
    Senior Member danseen's Avatar
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    hmm.. so if I use kitchen knife to hurt somebody maliciously, all vegetable/meat knives should be banned?

    err... don't humans use tools to their own ends?

  5. #5
    Just a note... LittleV's Avatar
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    This reminds me of a citation I've recently used: https://www.zotero.org/nico_cardona/...emKey/BS7Q9XUE

  6. #6
    Analytical Dreamer Coriolis's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Vasilisa, quoting an article View Post
    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.
    This paragraph holds the key, namely teaching everyone how this works so they can recognize emotional manipulation when it is happening to them. They can learn to guard their emotions in adversarial situations, and be more open with them among trustworthy friends. Coupled with learning critical thinking skills, they can separate the objective content from the emotional content of speeches, sales pitches, and other attempts at persuasion.

    I have always been leery of attempts to promote emotional intelligence, as they seem designed to reprogram some of us away from who we are and into something else, much as people for a time tried to make lefties use their right hands.
    I've been called a criminal, a terrorist, and a threat to the known universe. But everything you were told is a lie. The truth is, they've taken our freedom, our home, and our future. The time has come for all humanity to take a stand...

  7. #7
    failed poetry slam career chubber's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Vasilisa View Post
    However, in jobs that involved fewer emotional demands, the results reversed. The more emotionally intelligent employees were, the lower their job performance. For mechanics, scientists, and accountants, emotional intelligence was a liability rather than an asset. Although more research is needed to unpack these results, 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 quite 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.

    < Full Story >

    That last paragraph hits home for me. Because it is not making me productive. In fact it made it worse for me after I went on emotional intelligence training.

  8. #8
    Unapologetic being Evolving Transparency's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by WhoCares View Post
    Wow, it only took 20yrs for them to realise that book is a tool for sociopaths...way to go. Of course any skill can be used for personal gain and where most people are concerned personal gain is a goal. Funnily enough I work a job where emotional intelligence must rate high on the must haves and high performing list. But my observation is that the most effective on my team are usually the least emotionally switched on. The reason why I say that is because people throw their emotions at you all day, if you get wrapped up in the neverending neediness of the people we deal with you cannot focus on the tasks at hand. Attention whoring is very prevalent in western society, so people try to play on our sympathies all day long in order to get free stuff and attention from it. You have to be able to shut down the heart strings until you find someone who truly needs it.

    The truly needy rarely ask, they suffer in silence but you can always tell they are in pain. They are the ones to spend what little time you have with, to make the little extra effort and to read their needs and accomodate them. People who are too emotionally open in this job burn out quickly or they become bitter at speed rendering them ineffective. They also take it hard when someone plays them and tend to carry that venom with them all day instead of brushing it off. I find that task orientated people are efficent and effective while still having the nous to notice a real need and attend to it.
    Do we work at the same place lmao?

    Quote Originally Posted by Coriolis View Post
    This paragraph holds the key, namely teaching everyone how this works so they can recognize emotional manipulation when it is happening to them. They can learn to guard their emotions in adversarial situations, and be more open with them among trustworthy friends. Coupled with learning critical thinking skills, they can separate the objective content from the emotional content of speeches, sales pitches, and other attempts at persuasion.

    I have always been leery of attempts to promote emotional intelligence, as they seem designed to reprogram some of us away from who we are and into something else, much as people for a time tried to make lefties use their right hands.
    Hmm I don't know about that.

    I don't know if it's that bad of a thing to take people a little out of their comfort zone. I think that we should be feeding our strengths up to a certain age. So that we have proper grounding. And then maybe incorporate a manageable amount of challenges. (This is nothing like the real world though. I'm just saying...an ideal world would work on strengths and then work on other areas as well later on)

    ***

    Anyways my opinion is that people that are stupid are going to do stupid things, no matter what. This is just an excuse for people that are already assholes, to have a justifiable reason to be more of an asshole. Words don't hurt, emotions do.


    Also this article is portraying EI in a very different light than what I have read. In college I took EI seriously when I read a book on it.

    What I took away from that book was that if you have an agitated customer in front of you, don't take what they're saying personally. Let them be agitated and you should work on reframing your mind so that you are not letting them have control of your thoughts. Beliefs are just repeated thoughts, and (for this example) a belief that all customers should not yell at you is a false belief...in this case...a customer yelling at you is contradicting your belief....which could likely sour your mood if you don't reconfigure your thoughts...which leads to having unproductive emotions that could have been avoided in the first place. It's about being prepared.

    What I learned was only the side about controlling your own emotions though. In this way you control others' emotions by modeling appropriate behavior. You don't actually CONTROL other ppls' emotions though. Nor do you take a manipulative approach to trying to control other ppls' emotions. You manipulate your own emotions and as a by-product you manipulate others' emotions. (in a good way) There was never an information about you controlling other peoples' emotions.

    That brings me to another point. People take the word "manipulate" as a bad thing. But I would like you to name one person that doesn't manipulate another person in one way or another. I think of the word manipulate as if it were replaced by the synonym "influence." And then in this way, you cannot be influenced or manipulated if you don't want to be.
    "Once the game is over, the Pawn and the King go back into the same box"

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  9. #9
    Analytical Dreamer Coriolis's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by chubber View Post
    That last paragraph hits home for me. Because it is not making me productive. In fact it made it worse for me after I went on emotional intelligence training.
    I agree, and have had similar experiences. I tried earlier in my career to implement some of this stuff in dealing with new employees, and it just caused confusion. My "native" approach would have been more effective, with less misunderstanding.

    Quote Originally Posted by Urarienev View Post
    I don't know if it's that bad of a thing to take people a little out of their comfort zone. I think that we should be feeding our strengths up to a certain age. So that we have proper grounding. And then maybe incorporate a manageable amount of challenges. (This is nothing like the real world though. I'm just saying...an ideal world would work on strengths and then work on other areas as well later on)
    So you think it was beneficial to tie those kids' left hands behind their backs to force them to use their right as primary, at least for awhile? Wonder why it didn't occur to them to do the reverse to right-handers.
    I've been called a criminal, a terrorist, and a threat to the known universe. But everything you were told is a lie. The truth is, they've taken our freedom, our home, and our future. The time has come for all humanity to take a stand...

  10. #10
    Unapologetic being Evolving Transparency's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Coriolis View Post
    So you think it was beneficial to tie those kids' left hands behind their backs to force them to use their right as primary, at least for awhile? Wonder why it didn't occur to them to do the reverse to right-handers.
    No, absolutely not. I don't think it's beneficial like that. And the most important word here is KIDS. That's just wrong. The point I was getting at, which I failed to do I see, was that we should be gradually challenged. Which is quite the opposite of what happened. The kids should just use what comes naturally to them. Then once they have a grounding....like years, upon years, upon years of it...I don't see a problem in challenging adults in learning how to develop different skills. And it's not right to just ask that of lefties, no.
    "Once the game is over, the Pawn and the King go back into the same box"

    Freedom isn't free.
    "Freedom is the right to tell people what they do not want to hear." ~ Orwell
    I'm that person that embodies pretty much everything that you hate. Might as well get used to it.
    Unapologetically bonding in an uninhibited, propelled manner
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