Emotional Intelligence Tactics Vs Self-Awareness Practices

Emotional Intelligence Tactics Vs Self-Awareness Practices

This is the new skill set of choice for corporate leadership. But is this just the re-branding of something else less socially acceptable?  Is there a better choice?

The Duck Principle

If it walks like a duck and has webbed feet like a duck and quacks like a duck, it is a duck.  The same thing applies here—spoiler alert.   Emotional Intelligence Tactics (EI) are the result of a rebranding effort. These tactics mirror what was known as psychological manipulation.  So, let’s review the techniques side by side and see how they compare and see if there isn’t a better choice.

Psychological Manipulation

What is psychological manipulation (PM)? Psychological manipulation is a set of deceptive social influencing skills. These tactics fall into three areas.

    • First, they learn to mask their emotions while projected a false emotional affect.
    • Second, they enhance observational and perceptive abilities.
    • Third, they use these deceptive skills to persuade others. These tactics are generally viewed as manipulative and unacceptable.

One example of psychological manipulations is the con man. Short for confidence artist.  The individual learns to conceal their outward Emotional Affect (1). At the same time, they must mute their moral compass to manipulate and deceive others.  They learn to use several ploys to gain the confidence of others to manipulate them into schemes.

Most people have a moral compass that rejects these types of practices. But, those who are sociopathic or narcissistic can override these moral objections. These tactics enable someone to exploit human psychological, emotional, and financial needs.  It often results in decision making based on greed. Often con-artists work in teams to leverage their deception.

Another example is the professional card shark.  Card sharks practice concealing their real emotional effect while at the same time projecting a range of others.  This is accomplished through verbal and non-verbal tactics.  The tactics that they employ are psychological manipulation through deception and manipulation.

Again, this tactic requires one to conceal their emotions and intent while manipulating others in making decisions People adept at this can fool lie detector tests (2) that measure EGK, and other physiological measures aren’t always accurate. People who train to mask their emotional affect also hide their physiology.


We want to make sure you do not confuse EI with the natural ability of an Empath.  An empath is a person with a sensitivity to the emotions and energy of other people and places. This ability is a sensitivity to energy, which is a function of awareness.  It is not a psychological technique.

Emotional Intelligence Tactics

Now let’s look a little closer at  EI.  It is the ability to control one’s own outward emotional effect. At the same time, ascertain the emotional state and subtle non-verbal cues of others. One uses skills to influence the thoughts, decisions, and behaviors of others.

So, it’s obvious at this point, the tactics and goals of psychological manipulation and EI are similar, if not identical.  But, we need to dig down into the tactics a little further to understand their relationship.  First, let’s how EI and other similar techniques are measured.

Rebranding Psychological Manipulation

This is where the re-branding effort starts.  The marketers of IE need to associate their tactics with something positive.  So, you would not openly describe your tactics as antisocial, narcissistic manipulation tactics.  Rather you associate them with socially acceptable terms close to Intelligence Quotient.  Thus, you end up with a more holistic term like emotional intelligence (EI). This is how unacceptable social tactics become acceptable and marketable.

Rebranding these tactics makes psychological manipulation sound legitimate.  None of the tactics have changed.  They are renamed to make them fit corporate jargon rather than abnormal psychological traits.

EI is known as several other acronyms. This list includes Emotional leadership (EL), Emotional Quotient (EQ), and Emotional Intelligence Quotient (EIQ).

Measuring EI and Other Similar Sounding Tools

Intelligent Quotient (IQ)

Intelligence Quotient (IQ) (3) is very different from EI or Emotional Quotient.  Although they sound similar, they assess two completely different things.  The abbreviation “IQ” was coined by psychologist William Stern (4).  The standardized IQ test measures the capacity to learn.  This includes measurements of short-term memory, analytical thinking, mathematical ability, and spatial recognition.  Yes, your IQ can change over time but not substantially.  The older you are, the more stable your test score will be. The most volatility in IQ scores is in childhood, mostly in adolescence.

So, we see how the Intelligent Quotient differs from the rebranded Emotional Intelligence.  IQ measures the capacity to learn, and EI is about the ability to regulate emotions.

Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory (MMPI)

The standard for measuring mental health is The Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory (MMPI) (5). This is a standardized psychometric test of adult personality and psychopathology.  Psychopathology (6) is the identification and study of a variety of mental disorders.

As such, versions of the MMPI can be an effective tool to identify an individual’s psychological manipulation tactics. As we’ll see in a moment, EI tactics are the same tactics associated with psychological manipulation. There are ways to measure EI.  For example, the Mayer-Salovey-Caruso Emotional Intelligence Test (MSCEIT.)  What these types of tests do is measure the ability to perceive, use, understand, and regulate emotions.

People with narcissistic and anti-social disorders can easily master psychological manipulation tactics. Manipulating people comes naturally.  However, if you don’t come by these tactics naturally, now you can learn them.  These skillsets are necessities for grifters and corporate executives.  If nothing else, some companies teach them to their leadership to guard against being manipulated by others.

One this is for sure, in today’s corporate marketplace ranking high on the EI scale will enable you to rise through the corporate ranks.  These anti-social skills are now the measure of the top-ranking executives.

Rebranding Emotional Intelligence Tactics

The corporate training for EI involves tactics in five major categories. These include Managing Self-Perception, Managing Self-Expression, Interpersonal Skills, Decision Making, and Stress Management.

All of these tactics correspond directly with behaviors associated with psychological manipulation.  These are the trademarks of narcissistic and antisocial behaviors.  Now, let’s look at how the specific tactics and how they are renamed to make them more socially acceptable.  Let’s first review the psychological manipulation technique’s description and then the new name re-branded name for EI.

Managing Self-perception

    • The first psychological manipulation (PM) tactic is learning to project confidence and dominate. They use this when This is a tactic even when the facts don’t support your position.  It requires the ability to ignore others’ facts and reactions, mute empathy, and decisions’ social impact.  This becomes Bolstering Self-Confidence in EI
    • The next PM tactic is compartmentalizing feelings and learning to ignore individual and social concerns.  This becomes Prioritizing Shareholder Value in EI
    • A basic PM goal is to value profit above individual or social concerns.  This becomes Prioritizing Bottom Line Results in EI

Managing Self-Expression

    •  The core skill set of PM is learning to ignore your emotions.  This becomes Controlling Outward Emotional Affect in EI
    • PM learns how to disengage from emotions. That way, they don’t have empathy for individual or social concerns.  This becomes Tactics to Increase Assertiveness and Independence in EI

Interpersonal skills

    • Another core skill set of PM is monitoring and masking verbal and non-verbal communications.  This becomes Controlling Outward Emotional Affect in EI
    • PM enhance observational skills to recognize non-verbal cues of others.  This way, they can identify hot buttons, fears, “tells,” and the concerns of others.  This becomes Learning to Observe and Identify the Emotional State and Needs of Others in EI
    • A common grifter technique of PM is learning how to manipulate others using bartering or collateral. This becomes Cultivating Effective Work Relationships in EI

Decision making

    • PM commonly use coercion and deception to manipulate others.  This becomes Effective Problem Solving Tactics EI
    • Disengaging and discounting empathy for others and the environment.  This becomes Impulse Control in EI 

Stress Management

    • Disengaging from individual and social and the impact of your actions is a PM requirement.  This becomes Flexibility – adapting to change effectively in EI
    • Taking advantage of people and the environment that conflict with our conscience. So, PM lives in a state of cognitive dissonance.   They must learn to communicate disingenuous information to manipulate others without feeling guilty. This becomes Managing Work-life Balance in EI
    • Disengaging from the emotional impacts on individual, society, and environment becomes Stress tolerance – successfully coping with stressful situations in EI
    • Finally, masking emotional “affect” becomes Maintaining Optimistic – having a positive outlook in EI

Summary of Emotional Intelligence Tactics

What is important here is to look beyond the name of the actual tactic.  Rebranding unhealthy behaviors and tactics do not make them healthy or socially acceptable.  And, learning these tactics is a slippery slope.  Since EI’s core is based on behaviors that can be learned, these shape your paradigm and personality traits.  These tactics become a part of your normal behavior.  Once learned, they become a part of the way you interact with everyone.

Unintended Consequences of teaching EI tactics

If you learn tactics that are inherently disingenuous, it will lead to other unhealthy thinking and behaviors. They divert us from positive values.   Once learned, they tend to become a part of your learned behavior. You will practice them in all social settings, personal and business alike.  This is the slippery slope leading to narcissistic and antisocial thinking and behaviors.  It has a detrimental impact on health and wellbeing, as well as all relationships.

Why has something so inherently destructive been rebranded for corporate consumption? That is simply because these techniques work in the short term.  People who manipulate others achieve the goals they set out to accomplish.  Profit becomes the bottom line over the cost to the individual and humanity.

As a result, companies must also then emphasize training in Ethics. That’s because when you teach people to manipulate others to meet company objectives, they will also use these same skills to achieve their desires.  For instance, EI training makes sexual predators more skillful at hiding their actions.  It helps those who coerce or threaten others more skillful at covering their tracks.

How Self-Awareness Differ from EI

self awareness

Many people think there is a better way.  Instead of learning tactics to mask our feelings and manipulate others, use the same effort to practice things that positively impact.  Practicing EI tactics makes us less aware of our impact on ourselves, others, and the planet.  EI gives a short term gain at the expense of everyone.  This is why enhancing our awareness is a much better choice.

Self-Awareness Practices, a Better Way

It’s the capacity to see the big picture.  It’s the ability to recognize oneself as part of a larger whole. This is the awareness that links us all together.  It helps us comprehend our humanity and our need to care for others and the planet. Furthermore, awareness is the gateway to the virtues of the spirit.  It’s what gives us empathy and motivation to act from an internal sense of right action.  Some say this is where the concept of Oneness originates.

An increase in awareness of ourselves gives us a perspective to understand the long-term implications of our decisions.  So, rather than enhancing and encouraging narcissistic, antisocial tactics, you can learn to get in touch with the higher virtues of our spirit.  This way, you become more self-aware.   There are many types of self-awareness practices that can be tailored to fit everyone.

Instead of learning to mask your emotions and conceal your behaviors’ impact, you can learn to embrace them.  You can learn to enhance awareness.  It helps you to see the implications of decisions that affect people and the planet.

Instead of learning to ignore your feelings and mask your Emotional Affect to influence others, you become more genuine.  You learn to express empathy and emotions positively.  You learn to accept and work with others with different points of view.

Learning and integrating self-awareness practices into your daily routine is not hard.  That’s because they are suitable for you and everyone in your circle of influence. Mindfulness Meditation is an excellent way to move toward this healthier mindset.  Another way is a form of walking mindfulness, which is called “Forest Bathing.”  Additionally, there are better alternatives to cope with stress and increase your overall health and wellness.  Moving toward a greater awareness of ourselves enables us to make decisions based on individual and social concerns rather than sacrificing them for corporate profit.

In Conclusion

We hope this article shows why self-awareness practices are a better choice.  It helps us make decisions that consider the impact on other people and the environment rather than corporate profit.  It also makes us healthier in the process.

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(1) Emotional Affect, Wikipedia
(2) Lie Detector Test, Wikipedia
(3) Intelligence Quotient (IQ), Wikipedia
(4) William Stern, Wikipedia
(5) Multiphasic Personality Inventory, Wikipedia
(6) Psychopathology, Wikipedia
(7) Joseph Campbell & Joseph Campbell’s book The Hero’s Journey, Wikipedia


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