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How efffective use of Emotional Intelligence can help your Project Management success



Emotional intelligence is referring to a person's ability to perceive emotions and control emotions. Generally speaking, when we face a difficult situation, our body reacts in different ways. For example, when you're hungry, your body will react fiercely- it will hunger for food. Similarly, when you're cold, your body will seek warmth. Our reactions are largely influenced by the emotions we feel. A hungry person may feel fear when he's unable to find food. An angry person may fear reprisals if he's unable to express his anger. In contrast, an emotionally cold person may fear the heat of another's anger if he cannot convey his feelings. Emotional Intelligence is an essential part of modern life. People who lack emotional intelligence often struggle with complicated situations they're unable to understand or control.


As the demand for project management work grows, so too does the need for emotionally intelligent project managers, to have the ability to be aware and understand emotions, both in themselves and others. It's about being able to regulate your emotions, respond effectively to others and create and maintain positive working relationships. These relationships have either the strength to succeed or can break down the success. This is why understanding the emotions behind tasks and activities is so important to drive forward a change-worthy process or initiative.


Project management is a complex socio-political web of interactions, populated with people who know what they want, most of the time, and those wants don’t always play nicely together. It can be a high-pressure, fast-paced environment which can be difficult to navigate without the ability to read and manage emotions.


Being able to operate effectively within the organisation is key to getting things done. The trend towards valuing core skills is important due to interpersonal skills being more important than ever – the shift is for project managers to be excellent at stakeholder engagement, conflict resolution, change management, negotiating, influencing and all the things that tools can’t do for us.


So, what does this all mean for you, the emotionally intelligent project manager? It means that you are in demand. Beyond that, being able to look out for your team means being able to interpret social cues and people with high emotional intelligence find that easier to do.


If you want to be successful in project management, developing your emotional intelligence can help you in many ways. Here are just a few examples:

  • Stakeholder Management – one of the most important aspects of project management is being able to manage stakeholders effectively. This means understanding their needs and concerns and being able to address them in a way that leads to a positive outcome for the project.

  • Conflict Resolution – Developed emotional intelligence allows you a better understanding of the emotions of others working on the project. This helps identify and resolve conflict, manage expectations and make sure everyone understands the aim and the end result.

  • Stress Management – This is very crucial as project managers are dealing with high levels of stress from all angles. Being aware of the emotions will help the team and project manager to be able to deal with and demonstrate methods of dealing with high levels of stress.

  • Decision Management – This enables a project manager to take into account the facts of a situation and also the emotions of those involved. This will then enable the project manager to make more informed decisions that consider the needs of all stakeholders involved to achieve the best outcome.

  • Environmental Management – Emotional intelligence will allow project managers to create a positive work environment by maintaining a positive culture and attitude in the workplace. This will then encourage teamwork and motivation for the project will remain high.

Using Daniel Goleman’s Model, he developed a framework of 5 components that make up emotional intelligence, plus a range of skills that can be developed so that everyone can become emotionally intelligent. These are:

  1. Self-awareness – The ability to recognise and understand your thoughts and feelings including your emotions.

  2. Self-regulation – The ability to control your emotions and reactions.

  3. Motivation – The ability to be driven and stay focused on your goals and to help others with their motivation.

  4. Empathy – The ability to understand and share the feelings of others.

  5. Social Skills – The ability to build relationships, communicate effectively and resolve conflicts.

Each of these components is important as a standalone but they also work together to create a high level of emotional intelligence once these skills are developed.


Do you and your team have a high level of emotional intelligence? Let's see if we can help you develop these to achieve success in your projects and change programmes.



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