CareerPersonal Growth

The Dark Side of Emotional Intelligence

If you stop and think about it, emotional intelligence is just another thing that a shrewd individual can weaponize for personal gain. As Adam Grant writes for The Atlantic, Adolf Hitler seemed to grasp emotional intelligence as deftly as Martin Luther King Jr. with his speeches. When people are sufficiently “awestruck” by what someone says, they are simultaneously less inclined to scrutinize the message and less likely to remember details. This means a person might become enraptured with a speaker’s idea without actually remembering if the details that supported the idea were valid. This is a problem, since research suggests that people who have mastered their emotions are better at anticipating and manipulating other people’s emotions. Even in cases where someone is not actively trying to commit villainy or send you into Poland, emotional intelligence must be viewed as what it is—a means to an end.

A second and unrelated trouble of emotional intelligence that Grant finds is that some careers are actually hurt rather than helped by high emotional intelligence. People like “mechanics, scientists, and accountants” are apparently better off not having the best read on emotions. Thus, in both of the ways explained here, it is critical to consider the context in which emotional intelligence is used. Like Rocky says, “The world ain’t all sunshine and rainbows.” You can view the full article here: http://www.theatlantic.com/health/archive/2014/01/the-dark-side-of-emotional-intelligence/282720/

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