Emotional Intelligence and Project Performance
If you hire and supervise project managers, you’re probably confident they have an above-average IQ. But what about their EQ? What are the consequences of appointing a PM with low emotional intelligence? At GBMC, we believe it can lead to project failure.
The Emotional Quotient, sometimes interchangeably called Emotional Intelligence, is the ability to monitor feelings and emotions and to discriminately use the proper ones to guide decisions and actions. EI can be thought of as aptitude, and EQ as ability.
Industry is convinced that project leaders who can monitor and regulate their own emotions and react positively to the emotions of their team members, perform better. Current studies now conclude that EQ can be considered twice as important to success as IQ, technical expertise, and training. Assigning values to choices by using feelings is indispensable for wise decision making, and will make better use of IQ and experience.*
Can EQ be improved?
Yes, according to top researchers and authors on emotional intelligence.
Here are some tips for improving the EQ of project managers.
Raise Awareness about EI
Train and communicate about EI. Include EI in your project leadership curriculum. Project managers who accurately understand their own EI – the innate ability to recognize, pay attention to, and distinguish between their own emotions – are better able to do this in others. Provide opportunities for your PMs to self-evaluate and get feedback, and give them time to reflect on their project accomplishments.
Motivate PMs to Increase EQ
Emotions are powerful, and sometimes PMs need encouragement to see them as a benefit on their projects. Project leaders may perceive that “emotions don’t belong on the job.” Help them see that emotions are required for project commitment and completion. Optimism and a positive attitude are prime attributes of capable self-motivators. Expression of negative emotions from leaders detrimentally affect project teams. Don’t let your PMs have the attitude that “this job would be easy if it weren’t for the people.” They must believe that the team is their greatest asset.
Reward PMs for Perceptive Use of Team EQ
EQ can be a potent synthesis of soft skills with technical skills. Emotional intelligence makes good judgment calls and enables effective communication to the team about things such as budgets, deadlines, earned value, deliverables. What makes your company and your teams stand out? Your ability to motivate team members to their full potential, providing the right project environment for success. Recognize and reward PMs who have skillful teams.
*Sources: Casper, C. M., 2002 and Karen Davey-Winter, 2019
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