Emotional intelligence is important, but this article argues that unbridled enthusiasm for EI has obscured its dark side.


New evidence shows that when people hone their emotional skills, they become better at manipulating others. Social scientists have begun to document this dark side of emotional intelligence. Fortunately, emotional manipulators are easy enough to spot if you know what to look for.

They undermine your faith in your grasp of reality.

Their actions don’t match their words.

They are experts at doling out guilt.

They claim the role of the victim.

They are too much, too soon.

They are an emotional black hole.

They eagerly agree to help—and maybe even volunteer—then act like a martyr.

They always one-up you.

They know all your buttons and don’t hesitate to push them.

We need to be aware of leaders who have self-serving motives and use emotional intelligence as a weapon for manipulating others.


Aug 2020 Forbes 28 Questions That Reveal Whether Someone Has A ‘Dark Personality’

Oct 2020 Leadership Institute How to Manipulate People-7 Signs of a Con Artist You Need to Know to Avoid Being a Victim

Oct 2020 Psychology Today The core traits of master manipulators

Jan 2021 Positive Psychology 18 Ways to Handle Emotional Blackmail (+ Examples & Quotes)

Apr 2021 Psychology Today Understanding and managing psychological manipulation