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Trump : une intelligence émotionnelle déficiente

CAMBRIDGE – Le mois dernier, cinquante anciens responsables de la sécurité nationale, ayant occupé des postes importants au sein de différentes administrations républicaines, sous les gouvernements de Richard Nixon à George W. Bush, ont signé une lettre ouverte annonçant qu’ils ne voteraient pas pour le candidat de leur parti à l’élection présidentielle, Donald Trump. Selon leurs propres termes : « Un président doit savoir s’imposer une discipline, contrôler ses émotions et n’agir qu’avec circonspection, après mûre réflexion. » Ou, plus simplement : « Trump n’a pas le tempérament requis pour être président. »

Dans le vocabulaire des théories contemporaines du pouvoir, Trump souffre d’une carence d’intelligence émotionnelle – cette maîtrise de soi, cette discipline et cette capacité d’empathie qui permettent aux dirigeants de canaliser leurs pulsions et d’attirer l’attention et l’affection des autres. La notion d’intelligence émotionnelle – qui comprend deux éléments clés, la maîtrise de soi et la facilité à aller vers l’autre – va à l’encontre de l’idée que les sentiments perturbent la pensée, puisqu’elle suggère que la capacité à comprendre et à contrôler ses émotions peut précisément contribuer à une pensée globale plus efficace.

Si le concept est récent, l’idée n’est pas nouvelle. Les esprits pragmatiques ont depuis longtemps compris son importance chez les dirigeants. Dans les années trente, Oliver Wendell Holmes, ancien juge à la Cour suprême, vieux grognard qui avait pris part aux combats de la guerre de Sécession, fut amené à rencontrer Franklin D. Roosevelt, lui aussi diplômé de Harvard, mais qui ne s’y était pas montré un étudiant particulièrement brillant. Interrogé sur l’impression que lui avait faite le président nouvellement élu, Holmes eut cette réponse, devenue célèbre : « esprit de seconde zone ; tempérament de première classe. » La plupart des historiens conviendraient que la réussite de Roosevelt en tant que dirigeant doit plus à son intelligence émotionnelle qu’à son « quotient intellectuel ».

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