You’ve probably heard of the term emotional intelligence before. It’s a way of thinking about how we impact the people around us. As project managers and leaders, it’s very important to be conscious of the impact we are having so we make the right impression at the right time.
Emotional intelligence is also known as EI or emotional quotient (EQ). Think of it as your emotional IQ. These skills can also help with negotiating and conflict resolution: as you can see, developing your EQ can have a positive impact on being able to lead your project team!
In the podcast episodes below, you’ll learn about the interpersonal skills required to help your team deliver their best work, create a positive environment and a supportive project culture. You can influence the way your team feels and behaves, simply by tuning into your emotional awareness and making the right choices for the situation. Let our expert podcast guests show you how.
Listen now to this featured Podcast on Emotional Intelligence.
Emotional intelligence (EI) is your ability to recognize and understand your own emotions and use them to respond appropriately to others, while recognizing and acknowledging their feelings too. EI helps you adjust the way you respond to get the best outcome in a situation.
If you already have a project management certification, or are studying to earn one, then you’ve probably come across the term ‘interpersonal skills.’ Leadership, team building, motivation, negotiation or trust building are some of the terms you’ll find under that umbrella. But there is another dimension to those soft skills that you need as a project leader.
And that is emotional intelligence.
Emotional intelligence is the term given to the way we can monitor our own emotions and the emotions of others. From there, we use the clues and information we pick up to guide our actions so that they can be as effective as possible. In other words, EI is being able to recognize and regulate emotions in ourselves and others.
As a project manager, you can see why emotional intelligence in leadership is important. Whether you are leading multi-million dollar projects or small initiatives for your department, you’ll be working with others, building interest in the project, asking people to do tasks and then following up with them. Using your interpersonal skills can make those activities more effective and less stressful for everyone.
EQ means picking up on the clues people give out. Is someone on the team desperate to get more involved in the project and learn from you? Is someone struggling with something at work (or even outside of work)? The more alert you are to the challenges facing your team, the more you can tailor your leadership style to fit their needs.
Ultimately, emotional intelligence and leadership is all about creating a positive working environment where you, as the project lead, can remove roadblocks and help the people on the team deliver the project successfully.
Aspects of emotional and social awareness include strong connected leadership, the ability to handle problems gracefully and being able to create and support effective teams using principles from the world of social and emotional intelligence translated into project management tools and techniques.
You can improve your emotional intelligence. Here are 5 steps you can take to build your skills.
Developing emotional intelligence simply means paying attention and building self-awareness. Take the time to be conscious of the way your actions affect others. If someone is having a bad day, you asking them for a project status update in the next 30 minutes could make it even more unpleasant for them. Instead, if you plan out when you need status updates and provide adequate notice, they can manage your requests without feeling over-burdened.
You already have a level of EQ, but how much do you listen to it and try to improve your skills in this area? The podcasts on this page are a curated collection of interviews with experts in the field. They have some amazing insights and practical tips to share with you. Why not add these episodes to your podcast queue now?
The most challenging problems we deal with are in the interactions between people. We need to focus on the underlying mechanisms that drive behavior, thoughts, feelings and emotions. It's critical, especially in the leadership aspect of project management, that we leverage this knowledge.
Emotional intelligence can’t be ignored in project management. As so much of the work you do is with teams, it’s so important to know how to get the best out of your working relationships with others.
The good news is that it’s easy to start improving your EI skills. The more you are aware of what you are doing and how other people are reacting to your management style, the more you can start to shift your own behavior and that of others. We can all work on building emotionally intelligent workplaces that treat people as people instead of simply ‘project resources’.
We have plenty of relevant podcast episodes on this topic, so pick a few and start listening to improve your skills!