Emotional Intelligence for Project Managers

Jan 21, 2022 | Emotional Intelligence, Leadership, Project management

Have you ever sat in a meeting where the executive or senior member just loses their s___t because they don’t like what their hearing? Witnessing this as a young project manager, I would think, who am I to argue with the Vince Lombardi leadership style.

Emotional intelligence (EI) is our ability to identify and control our emotions to achieve positive outcomes in our relationships. Project managers with high EI are better equipped to deal with team members, vendors, stakeholders, and sponsors and to manage and resolve conflicts. First we must distinguish between feelings and behaviors. Its normal to feel angry and frustrated, especially when project work is going south. Behavior is how you act and communicate that anger. How do we constructively behave while still maintaining a positive work environment where team members feel valued, motivated, and focused to achieve? Yelling and screaming won’t do it! Here are some tips to maintain a high degree of emotional intelligence:

1. Stop and Identify How You Feel. Recognize anger for what it is, a feeling inside of you that has been triggered by current events. The degree of anger you feel is often based on the fear of consequences or even prior experiences you’ve had in similar circumstances. Remember it’s just a feeling, it is not the event itself.

2. Recognize and Own Your Power. Your response to the anger and the event will set the stage for how others behave and manage that event and future negative events. As a leader your goal is to maintain a positive work environment where team members feel valued, motivated, and focused to achieve, even when they are not achieving. Consider calmly using phrases like: “I’m very frustrated with this situation,” “We’re better than this and I’m confident we can figure this out.” Calmly collaborate and join in the resolution process.

3. Self-Evaluate. Have a conversation with yourself after the event has passed. Did the felling control you or did you control the felling? I’ve always believed a person is not judged by where’s they’ve been but where they’re going. It’s not about doing right all the time but doing it a little better each time.

If I sound like a snowflake then let it snow! Our focus as leaders needs to be transformational and not just transactional. I want a team that is resilient, focused and motivated in every situation. Many of those team members will be leaders and I want them to lead constructively and positively. To learn more about Emotion Intelligence go to:


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