When Emotional Intelligence is a liability

breaking game (3).jpgOne of the four major branches of emotional intelligence (according to John D. Mayer and Peter Salovey) is the ability to reflectively regulate or manage emotions. This applies to managing your own emotions rather than those of other people. According to research by this team, people who understand their own emotions and “are confident about their abilities to regulate their affect, seem to be able to repair their moods more quickly and effectively following failure.” [1]

There are two things about this finding that piqued by interest. As regulating one’s own emotions and repairing one’s own mood are basically the same ability. These two skills should definitely be found in the same people. However, they only “seem” to do this. The person who manages their own emotions may only appear to be minimizing disappointment, frustration and anger. They may be just as disturbed as the person who frets, sulks and rants after their plans bite the dust. However, the first group is definitely more pleasant to be around.

People who are able to mold their own emotions to create favorable impressions of themselves must work at this. You do not remain calm and collected when others panic if you don’t’ put effort into learning how to do this. At least most people don’t. But just maybe you are one of those people who can because you never exhibit much emotion. Maybe you’ve been told to be more open and expressive, because people cannot read you. Of course if a person is really able to manipulate their own affect, others are not really reading them either.

However, there is an advantage to emotional intelligence that is rated fair to middling. Controlling expressiveness come at a price, and one of the costs seems to be less expertise in skills that require logic. Psychologists Dana Joseph (University of Central Florida) and Daniel Newman (University of Illinois) analyzed every study they could find on the connection between job performance and emotional intelligence. Interestingly, certain types of jobs are performed better by people who don’t read others emotions and regulate their own. In these positions, such as mechanic, scientist or accountant, people with higher emotional intelligence typically exhibited poorer performance.[2]

While it is a good idea to learn how to control exhibits of anger and disgust. It is not necessarily a bad thing to show a lack of enthusiasm or empathy. In learning the emotional expressiveness that enables you to persuade others, you may be sacrificing just as important skills that are part of very necessary professions.

[1] Salovey, Mayer, Goldman, Turvey, & Palfai, 1993 (http://www.unh.edu/emotional_intelligence/EI%20Assets/Reprints…Mood%20Meas%20and%20Mood%20Cong/CA1995SaloveyMayer.pdf)
[2] https://news.cos.ucf.edu/the-dark-side-of-emotional-intelligence/

 

 

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