The Project Manager with Emotional Intelligence

Let’s talk about the importance of proper management of people, communication and emotions in a project.

90% of the project manager’s time is focused on information management and proper communication.

But communicating is much more than just talking or explaining something. For proper communication, among others, you need:

  1. A high degree of knowledge of the language.
  2. A high degree of knowledge of what you are going to communicate about
  3. Excellent ability to organize ideas and synthesize the message

But in addition to communicating as project managers we must relate to people and know how to manage emotions (those of others and ours).

We will encounter many situations with resistance to change, differences of interest, internal conflicts, egos, etc.

To do this, our good communication skills or management skills will not suffice, but the management of personal emotions comes into play.

To me, the latter is more important than everything else.

You can’t be a good PM or a good ScrumMaster if you don’t know how to manage emotions.

This may seem a little radical but it is so and I have been able to see it throughout my years of experience.

A project can end up “successfully” according to the definition of success of the manuals (i.e., meeting the objectives of scope, time, cost and quality) but have generated a rarefied or aggravated existing or new conflicts.

This is not a successful project, it is a disaster, regardless of what the management manuals say.

A well-led and managed project has to meet established metrics but do it correctly, managing people, emotions and conflicts appropriately.

There are more and more situations such as the following:

  • Technical leaders who promote project managers without having any idea to manage people (and without the company training them properly for their new functions)
  • Project Management Offices that manage nothing, are pure administrative departments that act more as police or “controllers” than as a tool to support projects.
  • Alleged Project Managers with no previous experience that having taken a 15-day course and passed an online exam, they believe that they can already manage projects (and worst of all… companies that search and hire these types of profiles hoping to be solved by problems)

In short, not only should we train to manage projects, we should also train as emotionally skilled people with the aim of being able to lead, inspire, guide and accompany others and grow together in our day-to-day life.

Basic skills to acquire emotional intelligence.

1.- Awareness of yourself and your own emotions. 
The awareness and expression of one’s emotions is the ability to recognize an emotion or feeling at the very moment it appears and is the cornerstone of emotional intelligence.

Making ourselves aware of our emotions requires being attentive to internal states and our reactions in their various forms (thought, physiological response, manifest behaviors) by linking them to the stimuli that cause them.

2.- Autorregulations
The ability to control emotions, to reassure oneself, to get rid of exaggerated anxiety, sadness and irritability. Control emotions, calm oneself, get rid of exaggerated anger, sadness and anxiety, but at the same time allow yourself to feel them, because each one has its meaning.

3.- Motivation
Most important of all is to self-motivate, when difficult times arise to be able to inhibit impulses, to have control of negative thoughts, to control the level of expectations and self-esteem, to be attentive to the reactions of others, and to act before them in a socially appropriate way.

4.- Empathy
Ability to capture the emotional states of others and react socially appropriately. 
Perceive emotional states and perceive the nonverbal elements associated with emotions.

5.- Social skills. Assertiveness
Ability to capture the emotional states of others and react socially appropriately. 
Perceive emotional states and perceive the nonverbal elements associated with emotions.

“People with well-developed emotional skills are more likely to feel satisfied and effective in their lives, and to master mental habits that favor their own productivity; people who can’t put some order in their emotional lives wage inner battles that sabotage their ability to concentrate on work and think clearly.”

Daniel Goleman

The Project Manager with Emotional Intelligence
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