Emotional Intelligence for Project Managers


Why did I chose this resource?

I’m taking a more active daily role in the management of all our client projects. We currently have 14 active and new client projects and I need to be able to seamlessly coordinate and communicate each project at both a high- and low-level. Effectively managing projects means communicating and working with people. Being able to lead and communicate with project teams is essential to being a successful, project-based company.

What did you learn from it?

I learned that emotional awareness plays a key component in leading successful project management teams.

Key Knowledge

PART ONE: An Introduction to Emotional Intelligence

  • 70 to 80 percent of management success rests on “emotional intelligence” (EQ) (i.e., using finely tuned interpersonal skills and astutely reading emotional cues to get the job done right and on time)
  • According to the author, emotional intelligence is “knowing and managing our own emotions and those of others for improved performance”
  • Five Domains of Emotional Intelligence
    • Self-Awareness – understanding ourselves and our emotions accurately
    • Self-Management – ability to control our emotions so they don’t control us
    • Social Awareness – being aware of the emotions of those around us
    • Relationship Management – using the awareness of our own emotions and those of others to build strong relationships
    • Team Leadership – emotional skills needed to effectively lead project teams
  • PMs need to be great communicators

PART TWO: Project Management Begins with Self-Management

  • Self-awareness is about the here and now; it’s not about yesterday or tomorrow, but about today
  • Emotional self-awareness is about understanding our own emotions
  • Self-confidence is essential to leading projects
  • Self-management – use our awareness of our feelings to manage ourselves
  • Self-control – ability to remain composed in spite of our emotional state
    • know thyself – try to avoid putting yourself in situations where you aren’t able to choose a graceful response
    • use HALT – pay attention to Hungry, Angry, Lonely or Tired (HALT). If you are any one of these, there is a higher likelihood that you will lose control
    • evaluate your physical environment – stay connected with Instant Messaging if you are not in a physical work environment
    • take care of yourself and stay healthy – if you don’t take care of yourself, you can’t take care of others
    • sharpen the saw – self-renewal through vacations or investment in training
    • avoid long work weeks – setting yourself up for illness and fatigue if more than 45, 50, 60 weeks
    • get support – engage others on an emotional level
    • reduce your stress level – stress reduction leads to positive relationships
    • talk it out with someone – utilize mentors
    • give yourself a time out – take a break

PART THREE: Building Project Stakeholder Relationships

  • Social Awareness
    • Empathy – one of the most important parts of social awareness; helps to walk in the shoes of others, relating to the emotions of others
      • seek first to understand, not to be understood
    • Empathetic listening – listening w/o judgement
      • focus on the words and behaviors of another without judgement
      • periodically summarize what they think, feel and need in the moment
    • PMs that master empathetic listening benefit by:
      • making speaker feel valued / important
      • improve the depth of communication
      • understand the underlying emotions – this adds richness to the conversation
      • building trust and the relationship with the other
  • Seeing others clearly
    • recognize our own biases
    • practice studying others
    • practice looking for the best in others
  • Organizational Awareness – being aware of the project, company, customers and vendors
    • identifying key power relationships
    • understanding the values and culture of the organization
  • Emotional Boundaries
    • be responsible for our own emotions, and allowing others to be responsible for their
    • respecting emotional boundaries
      • set limits – set limits in advance so that you can establish a clear boundary with others
      • respond appropriately – need to be careful not to become hooked in to the emotions others are experiencing
      • take responsibility – take responsibility for our feelings
      • let them be – let other be responsible for their own feelings

How are you using what you learned?

Working on having patience and being slow to anger. Take time to listen to others, understand where they’re coming from, acknowledge, and then move forward. It is important to listen and be emotionally in-tune. However, at the end of the day, we must perform and execute well. We cannot allow ourselves to be handicapped by emotional intelligence, and this book isn’t alluding to this at all, but we must be able to perform. Emotional intelligence is a key piece of leading project teams to success.

Key Changes / Key Actions

  • Set boundaries with clients – allow them to have their feelings / perceptions, but we do not need to take them on as our own
  • Understand how the interactions / relationships internally and externally impact Anant at the company, organizational, team and project level
  • Stay in control – don’t let personal frustrations / emotional state impact others.


  • Name : Emotional Intelligence for Project Managers
  • Author : Anthony Mersino, PMP, PMI – AC
  • Summary.com: Link to Book

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *