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Why Emotional Intelligence is the Key for Project Managers

  • Publish Date: Posted over 2 years ago

More than 75% of project managers report that they have used emotional intelligence in the last two years and 47% say that emotional intelligence is part of their annual review. So what is emotional intelligence and how can you use it in your project management work.

The concept of emotional intelligence (often abbreviated to EQ or EI) was popularised in Daniel Goleman’s 1995 best-seller Emotional Intelligence. In the book he developed on the work of Beldoch and Robert’s The Communication of Emotional Meaning. Many argue that EQ was taken up so much in the 90s as the business sector sought for a broader value base than the purely financial drive of the 1980s.

Emotional intelligence is often defined as a person’s ability to perceive, use, manage, understand and handle their own emotions as well as others’ feelings. Many Project Managers will be instantly aware of how these traits are at play in nearly every aspect of their work. For Project Managers, the task of bringing a project to a satisfactory conclusion involves getting people to buy in and care about the task and see their part in the work. Clearly, this is a person-centred role.

So what tips do project managers have for improving their emotional intelligence at work?

Learn from the experts: there are many speakers and writers who talk about EQ. This can be informal, such as watching YouTube or TED talk videos about the subject and trying to incorporate the tips. It could also be more formal, with a recognised qualification helping you to develop emotional intelligence.

Get work to help: many project managers are able to get buy-in from their employer about the importance of developing emotional intelligence. This can then lead to a training budget being approved for you to develop in this regard.

Understand it’s an ongoing process: perhaps the most important elements of emotional intelligence are honesty and humility. Unless project managers understand that they don’t know it all, then they might cease to develop. In turn this can lead to them switching off from their employees and a lack of honesty creeping in.