Obama vs. McCain, Emotional Intelligence vs. Unhealthy Anger

The public behavior of Barack Obama and John McCain during the recent presidential election offers an excellent contrast between a demonstration of emotional intelligence and unhealthy anger in action.

Emotional intelligence is a new concept, which is related to the ability to understand one’s own feelings and behavior as well as the capacity to sense the feelings and needs of others and to utilize this information in a way that enhances interpersonal relationships. Emotional intelligence is also the capacity to create positive outcomes in your relationships with others and yourself. Emotional intelligence is a key component of successful leadership.

Throughout the campaign, Obama exhibited the following qualities that are inherent in emotional intelligence:


·Active listening

·Self Esteem


·Decision making

·Interpersonal awareness


·Stress management

·Commitment ethic

Consistent with behavior that tends to be perceived as angry, here are some of the things that were observed by Sen. McCain during the election:

·Interpersonal aggression




·Tense facial expressions




·Insulting remarks



While it is clear that Senator McCain is far more experienced and seasoned than Senator Obama, he has a long history of angry behavior towards colleagues and staff. During the debates, McCain’s body language and demeanor was clearly a Poster for the modeling of emotional intelligence and managing person-directed aggression.

George Anderson, MSW, BCD, CAMF, CEAP
Diplomate, American Association of Anger Management Providers
Anderson & Anderson®, The Trusted Name in Anger Management

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s