Emotional Intelligence

Emotional Intelligence for Project Managers

Intelligence Quotient (IQ) gets you hired, Emotional Intelligence (EI) gets you promoted


re you aware that emotions have an impact (positive or negative) on your behavior? Yes, you surely know that and you surely manage those emotions… but what if you are under pressure? Do you still manage those emotions?
Let’s go back for a while. In 1996 Daniel Goleman popularized the term Emotional Intelligence in his book (of the same name).
The concept was indeed created in 1990 by two researchers Peter Salavoy and John Mayer. They described Emotional Intelligence as “a form of social intelligence that involves the ability to monitor one’s own and others’ feelings and emotions, to discriminate among them, and to use this information to guide one’s thinking and action

Cognitive Intelligence vs Emotional Intelligence

How do you guarantee business success? How do you choose the perfect Manager? Of course,by promoting managers with a high cognitive intelligence… Goleman would have stated that you’re choosing a good manager, but not necessarily the best one.
Goleman stated that it was not cognitive intelligence that guaranteed business success, but emotional intelligence.
People good at:

  1. understanding their own emotions – self-awareness,
  2. managing their emotions – self-regulation,
  3. people who were:

  4. empathetic to the emotional drives of other people – social awareness,
  5. good at handling other people’s emotions – social skills,

are described as emotionally intelligent people.

Characteristics of EI

self awarenessLet’s deepen the concepts expressed in the last paragraph, using the definition given by Goleman in his book.

People with high Emotional Intelligence perceive their own emotions and control them. They understand their strengths and weaknesses and work hard on them in order to improve.

People with a high EI, typically don’t become too angry or jealous, control impulses, and they don’t make careless decisions. They think before acting.
They’re usually highly productive, accept challenges, are very motivated, and are very effective in their duties.

Social Awareness

Empathy is simply recognizing emotions in others, and being able to “put yourself in another person’s shoes” – understanding the other person’s perspective.
Empathetic people are usually excellent at managing relationships, listening, and relating to others. They avoid stereotyping and judging too quickly.

Social Skills

Those people with strong social skills are typically team players. Rather than focus on their own success first, they help others develop. They handle opposite views, are excellent communicators, and are really good at building and maintaining relationships.

Are you able to work in a team?

Team WorkingHow many times do you have read this selection criteria while looking for a job?
On many job posts, you probably have read something like this:
“able to operate effectively in a team”
“able to contributing positively to team operations”
We all understand the importance of fostering positive work relationships, working in a cohesive team, a team in which your boss understand your problems, in which every member works for the serenity of the group, and so on.
In other words, we all know the importance of having people in the team with high emotional intelligence.

How to use Emotional Intelligence

Let’s think that a Manager can use his emotional intelligence to translate info from customers into something useful to the project team.
And what about reactiveness? A Manager with high EI can adapt his leadership style according to people’s moods.
Do you think that it’s just hot air? Ok, and what if your boss told you “It’s simply none of your business, just do what I ordered and stop bothering me”? How would you feel? Not so good, I suppose.

How to cultivate Emotional Intelligence

Emotional Intelligence can be learned and developed simply because is an awareness of your actions and emotions and how they impact on others.
Of course, Emotional Intelligence can be measured. How? Try this test
After that, if you’d like to improve (and I think you’d like, otherwise why are you reading this article?) try to follow these simple passages.

  1. Note your emotional reactions to events throughout the day
  2. It’s of great importance for improving your EI, taking time to acknowledge how you feel about experiences.

  3. Pay attention to your body
  4. Mind and body aren’t two separate entities. Start with being aware of physical manifestations of your emotions. For example, feelings such as happiness and pleasure might feel like a racing heart.

  5. Analyze the connection between emotions and behavior
  6. Have you ever thought that feeling insecure usually cause you to withdraw from a conversation? Take note of your reactions, analyze them and understand them.

  7. Don’t judge emotions
  8. If you judge an emotion as negative, you won’t go anywhere. You should experience all emotions to really understand them; also the negative ones, so that you can use this experience to turn them into positive reactions.

  9. When did you fell like that?
  10. There are usually patterns in your emotional background. Try to remember when was the last time that you felt like that. What happened before and later?
    Keep a journal of your reactions.

  11. Decide how to react
  12. Have you noticed a behavior that you’d like to change? Analyze your journal and decide how to react the next time.

  13. Be open-minded when connecting with others
  14. Being open-minded let you deal with conflicts in a less stressed way. Listening to others sometimes can automatically avoid disputes and misunderstandings and, above all, improve your empathy skills.

  15. Pay attention to other people’s body language
  16. Remember that mind and body are connected. if you, for example, notice a strangely higher tone of voice, you could think that the other is stressed.

  17. Analyze the effect you have on other people
  18. Do you tend to make people feel nervous, cheerful or angry? What happens to conversation when you walk in the room?

  19. Be emotionally honest
  20. Don’t say that you’re “fine” if your face tends to say another thing.


    To effectively handle human resources, Emotional Intelligence is an essential skill.
    As emotions determine our choices, it’s important for us, as leaders, to guide our team members to make the right choices for growing.
    Last but not least, let me say that Emotional Intelligence can help us grow rational without becoming cold, it can effectively decrease our stress and let us live a better life.

    I’m an enthusiastic and highly motivated PMP and Prince2 (Foundation) Senior Program Manager with 16+ years experience in the Healthcare industry. I often work in highly pressurized and challenging environments, managing a large-scale software development program up to an order value of €6M. I’m extremely professional in approach and behaviour, adaptable to change, very meticulous, collaborative, energetic, resilient, innovative, proactive and pragmatic. I’m passionate about process improvement, technology innovation, knowledge sharing techniques and how businesses can capitalize on social media integration. My greatest strength is helping to focus my organization’s efforts on the activities necessary to achieve strategic goals and objectives in order to consistently meet both the customer’s and business’ needs; on time and under budget.


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