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Success Series – The Successful PM and Emotional Intelligence

We’ve discussed how a good PM must be a good leader. In other words: having a vision, taking initiative, strategizing and executing a plan. But is there any other leadership trait which is equally, if not more important?

Well research seems to indicate yes. Namely, Emotional Intelligence or EQ.

So, the 1st question is obviously, WHAT is EQ? So, let’s start by first defining WHAT Emotional Intelligence or EQ is.

  • Some call it “situational or social awareness”
  • Other define it as knowing and responding to emotions
  • A more helpful and accurate definition is perhaps “The ability to accurate perceive, understand and manage yours, as well as others’ emotions”[1].

At the heart of emotional intelligence is the acceptance and awareness of the role emotions play in thoughts, actions, decisions…and even motivation. Closely associated with this is concept of “emotional independence” …being able to self-manage and self-regulate your own emotions.

The second obvious question is then, WHY is this so important in being a good leader and good PM?

  • It boils down to influence and leadership effectiveness. Does the team trust the leader? Do they perceive him/her as in control? Is he/her worthy of respect? Can he/she deal with difficult situations?
  • It’s actually quite easy: Do you want to follow the boss who loses his temper, shouts at everyone, flips his top at the first sign of resistance? Other the calm, flexible manager who assess the situation, rallies the team and navigates an alternative solution

Maybe the most valuable and last question to ask is: How can I improve my own emotional intelligence?[2] 5 things[3]:

  1. Get comfortable with yourself…get to know yourself…and your emotions. Do more self-reflection. Why? Because self-reflection opens the door to greater self-awareness.
  2. Self-awareness is the necessary step to self-regulation. Become aware of your emotions in the moment and practice to step outside yourself. Learn to suspend your reactions. Learn to ask yourself first: how can I respond? How do I want to respond? What is the most helpful way to respond?
  3. Practice Empathy. Being able to place yourself in the other’s shoes. To see what he/she sees. The feel what he/she feels. To understand their perspective and opinion.
  4. Explore emotions as a key to greater depth in your relationships. Don’t shy away from emotions. Run to it and use it to expand the full gamut of colour and
  5. Harness your emotions as a driver of self-motivation. Learn to harness the power of emotion as fuel, instead of helplessness.

Finish of with an except from the NAVY Seals creed: “The ability to control my emotions and actions sets me apart from other men.

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[1] Emotional Intelligence Is Key to Successful Leadership https://www.gottman.com/blog/emotional-intelligence-key-successful-leadership/

[2] Emotional Intelligence in Leadership https://www.mindtools.com/pages/article/newLDR_45.htm

[3] 5 Aspects of Emotional Intelligence Required for Effective Leadership  https://www.inc.com/brent-gleeson/5-aspects-of-emotional-intelligence-required-for-effective-leadership.html

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