Article by Dr. Pratik P. SURANA(ACTP, Ph.D.,EQ I 2.0 Certified Assessor and Coach)
Chief Mentor and Founder,Quantum Group
Some of the greatest moments in human history were fuelled by emotional intelligence. When Martin Luther King, Jr. presented his dream, he chose language that would stir the hearts of his audience. instead of honouring this sacred obligation・
Delivering this electrifying message required emotional intelligence the ability to recognize, understand, and manage emotions. Dr. King demonstrated remarkable skill in managing his own emotions and in sparking emotions that moved his audience to action. As his speech writer Clarence Jones reflected, King delivered perfectly balanced outcry of reason and emotion, of anger and hope. His tone of pained indignation matched that note for note.”
Emotional intelligence is important, but the unbridled enthusiasm has obscured a dark side.
Recognizing the power of emotions, another one of the most influential leaders of the 20th century spent years studying the emotional effects of his body language. Practising his hand gestures and analysing images of his movements allowed him to become an absolutely spellbinding public speaker says the historian Roger Moorhouse it was something he worked very hard on. His name was Adolf Hitler.
Since the 1995 publication of Daniel Goleman best-seller, emotional intelligence has been touted by leaders, policy-makers, 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 have less bullying and more cooperation. If we can cultivate emotional intelligence among leaders and doctors, we 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 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.
Facebook caught a lot of flak over the experiment, primarily because none of the “participants” gave their consent to join the study. Perhaps more frightening than Facebook’s faux pas was just how easily people’s emotions were manipulated. After all, if Facebook can manipulate your emotions just by tweaking your newsfeed, imagine how much easier this is for a real, live person who knows your weaknesses and triggers. A skilled emotional manipulator can destroy your self-esteem and even make you question your sanity.
It’s precisely because emotional manipulation can be so destructive that it’s important for you to recognize it in your own life. It’s not as easy as you might think, because emotional manipulators are typically very skillful. They start out with subtle manipulation and raise the stakes over time, so slowly that you don’t even realize it’s happening. Fortunately, emotional manipulators are easy enough to spot if you know what to look for.There is no question that EQ is a desirable and highly adaptive trait, and it is understandable that we generally prefer EQ to be high rather than low. However, obsessing over high EQ will create a workforce of emotionally stable, happy, and diplomatic people who potter along and follow rules enthusiastically instead of driving change and innovation. They will be great followers and good managers, but don’t expect them to be visionary leaders or change agents.
1. They undermine your faith in your grasp of reality. Emotional manipulators are incredibly skilled liars. They insist an incident didn’t happen when it did, and they insist they did or said something when they didn’t. The trouble is they’re so good at it that you end up questioning your own sanity. To insist that whatever caused the problem is a figment of your imagination is an extremely powerful way of getting out of trouble.
2. Their actions don’t match their words. Emotional manipulators will tell you what you want to hear, but their actions are another story. They pledge their support, but, when it comes time to follow through, they act as though your requests are entirely unreasonable. They tell you how lucky they are to know you, and then act as though you’re a burden. This is just another way of undermining your belief in your own sanity. They make you question reality as you see it and mold your perception according to what is convenient to them.
3. They are experts at doling out guilt. Emotional manipulators are masters at leveraging your guilt to their advantage. If you bring up something that’s bothering you, they make you feel guilty for mentioning it. If you don’t, they make you feel guilty for keeping it to yourself and stewing on it. When you’re dealing with emotional manipulators, whatever you do is wrong, and, no matter what problems the two of you are having, they’re your fault.
4. They claim the role of the victim. When it comes to emotional manipulators, nothing is ever their fault. No matter what they do—or fail to do —it’s someone else’s fault. Someone else made them do it—and, usually, it’s you. If you get mad or upset, it’s your fault for having unreasonable expectations; if they get mad, it’s your fault for upsetting them. Emotional manipulators don’t take accountability for anything.
5. They are too much, too soon. Whether it’s a personal relationship or a business relationship, emotional manipulators always seem to skip a few steps. They share too much too soon—and expect the same from you. They portray vulnerability and sensitivity, but it’s a ruse. The charade is intended to make you feel “special” for being let into their inner circle, but it’s also intended to make you feel not just sorry for them but also responsible for their feelings.
6. They are an emotional black hole. Whatever emotional manipulators are feeling, they’re geniuses at sucking everyone around them into those emotions. If they’re in a bad mood, everyone around them knows it. But that’s not the worst part: they’re so skillful that, not only is everyone aware of their mood, they feel it too. This creates a tendency for people to feel responsible for the manipulator’s moods and obliged to fix them.
7. They eagerly agree to help—and maybe even volunteer—then act like a martyr. An initial eagerness to help swiftly morphs into sighs, groans, and suggestions that whatever they agreed to do is a huge burden. And, if you shine a spotlight on that reluctance, they’ll turn it around on you, assuring you that, of course, they want to help and that you’re just being paranoid. The goal? To make you feel guilty, indebted, and maybe even crazy.
8. They always one-up you. No matter what problems you may have, emotional manipulators have it worse. They undermine the legitimacy of your complaints by reminding you that their problems are more serious. The message? You have no reason to complain, so shut the heck up.
9. They know all your buttons and don’t hesitate to push them. Emotional manipulators know your weak spots, and they’re quick to use that knowledge against you. If you’re insecure about your weight, they comment on what you eat or the way your clothes fit; if you’re worried about an upcoming presentation, they point out how intimidating and judgmental the attendees are. Their awareness of your emotions is off the charts, but they use it to manipulate you, not to make you feel better.
The summing up is :
Emotional manipulators drive you crazy because their behavior is so irrational. Make no mistake about it—their behavior truly goes against reason, so why do you allow yourself to respond to them emotionally and get sucked into the mix?
The more irrational and off-base someone is, the easier it should be for you to remove yourself from their traps. Quit trying to beat them at their own game. Distance yourself from them emotionally, and approach your interactions with them like they’re a science project (or you’re their shrink if you prefer that analogy). You don’t need to respond to the emotional chaos—only the facts.
We need to be aware of leaders who have self-serving motives, and use emotional intelligence as a weapon for manipulating others. Such leaders intentionally shape their emotions to fabricate favorable impressions of themselves.
So, due to the growing recognition that emotional intelligence — like any other skill — can be used for good or evil in leadership, it is critical to consider the values that go along with it and where it’s actually useful. This should be incorporated in leadership training. One should hold it in mind and heart as they sharpen their own leadership skills.
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