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5 May 2014

Self-Regulated Psychopath, Implications for Emotional Intelligence (Pt 2)

This entry is part 10 of 11 in the series Psychopaths in Workplace

Psychopath & Sociopath The DifferencesPreviously, I recommended revisiting Emotional Intelligence (EI) as proposed by advocates of Daniel Goleman. That centered on empathy. This is on self-regulation, another of the five components of EI Goleman created. Again, looking at psychopaths relative to self-regulation illustrates legitimacy for revisiting the EI concept.

Imagine a sensitive person born with very intense emotions and another born psychopathic, with far fewer, if any, emotions. The psychopath has little to maintain, little to regulate. It’s much easier for the psychopath to self-regulate than the sensitive person. The psychopath won’t be moody or impulsive. Moreover, if the sensitive person is emotionally empathic, he will not only have to deal with his emotions but those of others (more). In other words, a psychopath could score very high in self-regulation, while the sensitive person very low.

High-EI people aren’t necessarily compassionate, sensitive or emotionally empathetic. They are socially adept and persuasive. These require being intelligent about – not sensitive to – emotions (timestamp 0:33). Finally, EI is learnable, meaning bright psychopaths who weren’t born with the troublesome emotions of sensitive people could pick it up more easily. Throw in inconsistent definitions of psychopathy and empathy, and new discoveries about our brain, subconscious and intuition, and calls for upgrading EI are legitimate.

The impact to businesses is approaching EI from an accurate perspective. For instance, EI advocates are fond of saying, “High IQ will get you hired. But EI will get you promoted.” Since EI deals much with managing our relationships, this slogan could just be the intellectualization of “It’s not what you know, but who you know.”

Therefore, while EI might be great for careers, is it great for businesses? Will it foster the diversity and conflict necessary for innovative cultures or foster homogeneous and compliant ones dominated by the persuasive?


Series Navigation<< Empathetic Psychopaths, Implications for Emotional Intelligence (Pt 1)Difference Between Narcissists And Psychopaths >>

6 Responses

  1. This is deep stuff, but boy does it make you think. Being someone very far to the El side, I have considered, though not in such technical terms, the implications of my own situation…but have never thought much on what it could mean for some person on the opposite end of the spectrum. Very interesting.

    1. Mike Lehr

      Thank you, Jenn, for the compliment. I appreciate it. I’m pleased it made you think. Sometimes concepts such as emotional intelligence (EI) are created and presented and become widespread generic solutions without considering their deeper implications. More importantly, empathy, one of five key indicators of EI is becoming a Pandora’s Box: the more we study it the more we realize we don’t understand it. That’s why, since EI was popularized in the mid-90’s, the definition of empathy divided into at least three types. So, which definition really applies to EI? Thank you for stopping by and visiting. I appreciate it. ~Mike

  2. You bring up interesting points and questions to ponder Mike! Psychopaths can be intelligent about emotions but not sensitive to them which makes it easier for them to regulate their emotions. There have been concerns going around EI circles around the issue of people like this using their knowledge and skills around emotions to do harm to others. Hitler was an expert at manipulating the emotions of others for his own purposes and so have many others. Perhaps there is an underlying assumption, hope or belief that those who were highly adept at managing emotions were all good people who would use it for the benefit of mankind. I never made that assumption as I was always aware of very charming, manipulative people who got their way through their skillful manipulation of others emotions. My partner, who is an empathy refers to them as slick and shiny. Like many things EI can be used for good or evil, depending upon the intent of the user. The question is how do we become more adept at determining people’s character and intent? Some people just seem to have a strong inner sense that helps them easily pick these people out while others can easily be taken advantage of by these unscrupulous types.

    1. Mike Lehr

      Harvey, you did an excellent job summarizing my concerns here. What also isn’t mentioned too much is that EI is supposedly learnable. Does that mean, with learning, psychopaths could improve their EI too? This doesn’t even include that different practitioners are beginning to define EI differently to avoid some of these pitfalls. We forget that EI is not a proprietary creation so there is no ensured consistency in definitions and applications.

      The problem is similar to the early use of “organic” for foods before some regulation came to play. At that time, you had to really dive into the ingredients to determine whether the food was truly organic (at least in the way you want it to be). That is why shoppers of EI need to do a similar due diligence to ensure what what they are expecting is what they are getting.

      Thank you very much Harvey for stopping by for a visit. I appreciate your insights. ~Mike

  3. 4thrills1

    Thanks for introducing me to Emotional Intelligence. I never heard of it before.

    I got the EI thing quite clear, but I’m struggling with the Psychopath definition still. I can’t tell if all mean people are one or just manipulators. I get confused between. sociopaths too. It all seems like splitting. Hairs.

    By what I’ve read here, it seems like my past workplace is all Psychopaths and Socialpaths.

    Yu see, I have BiPolar and the only one in my office with a degree. The IT Manager. The rest were 90% women and always setting people up to fail.

    I made the office hundreds of thousands of dollars, created jobs and was once loved and respected.

    Then, my receptionist teamed up with others and told the board of directors I’m crazy and scitso and dangerous. She became my supervisor, then acting CEO. Then I was laid off and asked to sign a contract stating I wouldn’t report any crimes or wrongdoing in my time there if I accept a huge severance deal. I took it.

    Is it possible that a workplace could have that many Psychopsths and Socialpaths? Like 70-90% ?

    I was a yes man and confident in my work and skills. Kept to myself. Looking back, I should’ve also been manipulative and cunning liar.

    Is it not a good goal to work towards being Psychopsthical ?

    I’m emotionless and cold but mostly because of bipolar. Anyway, any advice you can give to clear this up is sooo much appreciated. It’s still killing me a year later.

    Money is all consumed for living expenses and still looking for work. Traumatized and symptomatic from it all.

    So confused and scared to be victimized again. I want revenge, yet I really want to be like them. I just want a job and security. Anything for my kid and wife.

    Thanks so much.

    Email me if you like or DM or post here. It’s all good.

    1. Mike Lehr

      If you have been professionally diagnosed as bipolar, you should find a professional who specializes in helping folks with that. I am not someone who could help you get rid of that.

      It is possible for one workplace to be that way. All the people might not be psychopaths and sociopaths though. It could just be the culture that brings out the worst in everyone. Self-preservation can make people do weird things.

      I’m pleased the posts have been some help to you. Thank you for visiting and leaving your experience. ~Mike

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