There are emotions and actions that look like the real thing but really aren’t.
Plenty of research has documented manipulative misuses of emotional intelligence. The most common misuse of emotional intelligence are subconscious, and are result of unaddressed, unhealthy emotional needs.
One of the most common counterfeits you can spot in well-intended leaders is manipulating with empathy. The capacity to understand and share others’ feelings creates authentic connection and deepens trust. Compassionate understanding for the challenges of others is emotionally intelligent. But a leader’s genuine desire to demonstrate care can transcend healthy boundaries in unintended ways.
Being attuned to the spoken and unspoken concerns of others and listening to them actively demonstrates openness to their views. By doing that, we automatically must put our own differing opinions second and that is not easy. There is an often unconscious need to be right.
Leaders can feign listening while trying to lure others to their side without realizing they’re doing it. Working to suppress your strong views to appear as if you’re engaging others never works, even if you mean well. People are more likely to believe you’re open to hearing their ideas if they feel you’ve been straightforward about where you stand on yours.
Self-aware leaders detect how others experience them, are open for feedback from others, and know their strengths and weaknesses. But when there is a desire to please others and a need for approval, all the techniques that help us become more self-aware can serve to make us more self-involved. Asking for a feedback is good whilst asking for feedback all the time is contra productive and reveals our insecurity and need to be praised by others.
All too often, leaders believe that they need to
portray that they have all the answers and that they don’t make mistakes. Authentic leaders can inspire trust and loyalty in their team members by being true to themselves. They relate to others by finding common ground and without being insincere. They know which personality traits they should reveal and when they can adapt to the situation.
With a high self-awareness, internal drive to continuously improve, ability to openly share their thoughts yet adapt what they say to whom they are speaking with, adapt to any situation, and with a strong moral compass, authentic leaders can maintain credibility and strong relationships with others by tuning into their emotional intelligence.
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