emotional intelligence

Emotional Intelligence Vs Self Awareness

This new skill set of choice of leadership for many corporations. 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 also quacks like a duck; then it is probably a duck.  The same thing applies here. Spoiler alert.   It turns out the tactics of Emotional Intelligence (EI) are very much like a less socially acceptable set of tactics 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

First of all, what is psychological manipulation (PM)? Psychological manipulation is a set of social influencing skills that aims to change the thoughts, behavior or perception of others through deceptive tactics.

One example of psychological manipulations is the con man. Short for confidence artist.  Here the individual learns to conceal their outward Emotional Affect while muting their moral compass so as to deceive others.  They learn to use a number of ploys to gain the confidence of others in order to manipulate them into schemes.

This requires knowledge of the human psyche, and the ability to use techniques which prey on human psychological, emotional and financial needs.  This includes manipulating decision making often based on greed. Often con-artists work in teams to leverage their deception.

Another example is the professional card shark.  They learn to conceal their true 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 requires one to be able to conceal their true emotions and intent while manipulating others in making decisions.  Consequently, this is the reason why the lie detector tests which measure EGK and other physiological measures don’t work universally.  People who train to mask their emotional affect also mask their physiology.


We want to make sure you do not confuse EI with the natural ability of an Empath.  This is someone who has a high degree of empathetic awareness.  Empaths are people who feel the emotions and energy of other people and places. This level of emotional sensitivity is a function of awareness.  It is not a psychological technique.

Emotional Intelligence

Now let’s look a little closer at  EI.  It is the ability to control one’s own outward emotional effect, while at the same time ascertaining the emotional state and subtle non-verbal cues of others. These are skills that one uses 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 really 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 really starts.  The marketers of IE need to associate their tactics with something which is 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).  In this way, previously socially unacceptable tactics become more socially acceptable and highly marketable.

Rebranding these tactics makes it possible to accept and teach psychological manipulation and make it sound legitimate.  None of the tactics are changed.  They too are renamed in order to make them fit corporate jargon rather than abnormal psychological traits.

EI is known by a number of other acronyms, Emotional leadership (EL), Emotional Quotient (EQ) and Emotional Intelligence Quotient (EIQ).

Measuring EI and Other Similar Sounding Tools

Intelligent Quotient (IQ)

Intelligence Quotient (IQ) 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.  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 rebranded Emotional Intelligence.  IQ measures the capacity to learn and EI is about the ability to regulate emotions.

Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory (MMPI)

To be sure, there are also tests that determine someone’s mental health.  For example, the Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory (MMPI) is a standardized psychometric test of adult personality and psychopathology.  Psychopathology 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 use of psychological manipulation tactics. Interestingly enough, as we’ll see in a moment, the tactics for EI 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.

Of course, people with narcissistic and anti-social disorders are masters at the use of psychological manipulation tactics. Manipulating people just comes naturally.  However, if you don’t come by these tactics naturally, now you can learn them.  In fact, these skillsets are necessities for grifters and corporate executives.  If nothing else some companies teach them to their leadership simply to guard against being manipulated by others.

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

Rebranding Emotional Intelligence Tactics 

Most emotional intelligence training involves tactics in five major categories, Managing Self-Perception, Managing Self-Expression, Interpersonal Skills, Decision Making, and Stress Management.

As we mentioned above the tactics in these areas correspond 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 in order to make them more socially acceptable.  First the description of the psychological manipulation technique 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 others even when the facts don’t support your position.  It requires the ability to ignore the facts and reactions of others, mute empathy and social impact of decisions.  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 so that 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 in order to recognize non-verbal cues of others.  This way they can identify hot buttons, fears, “tells” and 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 are in conflict with our conscience. So, PM lives in a state of cognitive dissonance.   They must learn to communicate disingenuous information in order to manipulate others without feeling guilty. This becomes Managing WorkLife 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 the core of EI 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

Learning tactics which are inherently disingenuous will lead us away from the positive values of your own personality and instinctual stack.  Once learned they tend to be practiced in all social settings personal and business alike.  You have a tendency to use these unhealthy tactics slipping into narcissistic and antisocial thinking and behaviors.  This has an obvious detrimental impact on health and wellbeing, as well as, all relationships.

Why has something so inherently destructive been rebranded for corporate consumption? That is simple. 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 in order to meet company objectives, they will also use these same skills to achieve their own personal 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 have a positive impact.  Practicing the tactics of  EI actually 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 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 learn to become more self aware.  Instead of learning to mask your emotions and conceal the impact of your behaviors 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 in order to influence others, you become more genuine.  You learn to express empathy and emotions in a positive way.  You learn to accept and work with others with different points of view.

Enhancing your self awareness is not hard.  Mindfulness Meditation is a good way to move toward this healthier mindset.  Another way is a form of walking mindfulness this is “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 enhancing self awareness is a better choice.  It helps us make decisions that take into account the impact on other people and the environment rather than corporate profit.  It also makes us healthier in the process.

If this article resonates, there are more on our blog.  Also, you may be interested in learning about our blended learning process.  This is our curriculum which we use to teach several mind-expanding tools.  It also aligns the Hero’s Journey.  This is the term Joseph Campbell gave the pattern of consciousness development.  Our learning process is available in two forms.  You can take part in the virtual learning module or in our workshops.

While you are here please also check out our page FAQ for information about our mission.  And, please consider donating to support our mission of providing these ancient spiritual development tools.

Image by Unsplash.


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