Emotional Intelligence in Project Management (by Jonathan)
This is another entry in a series of posts that covers different aspects relating to Scrum, being a Scrum Master, and everything Agile. These are the notes that I have taken during my journey and self-growth to understanding different perspectives and approaches in the Agile community.
Emotional Intelligence is the ultimate integration of soft skills and technical skills. As a Scrum Master I believe this is highly needed, however there is another role in where emotional intelligence can make a difference when one needs to communicate effectively and in making the best judgment calls. This article will cover emotional intelligence and why it is important for Project Management.
Emotional Intelligence in the Project Manager Role
Emotional Intelligence (EI) – the capacity to be aware of, control, and express one's emotions, and to handle interpersonal relationships judiciously and empathetically.
As a Scrum Master, it is important because I have witnessed a significant differentiator in the success on the teams I have helped lead when Project Managers have a strong EI. It is said that 58% of our success ties to our ability to be emotionally intelligent (Bradberry, Travis. The Emotional Intelligence Quick Book : Everything You Need to Know to Put Your EQ to Work. New York :Simon & Schuster, 2005)
With the high success rate connected to emotional intelligence, I believe this to be a critical leadership attribute that not only Scrum Masters ought to have, but other roles helping lead teams succeed.
For example, I have seen Project Managers perform the following: tracking dependencies, making sure objectives are on track, gathering metrics, alignment of the organizational goals and the Dev. Teams that are working on those projects, being the main vocal for the project at the organizational level, etc... However, what is often overlooked as vital for project success is soft skills. A project manager requires the ability to communicate with, and engage, a wide range of people both internally and externally. The way we communicate is key when handling problems or barriers to success.
Emotional Intelligence and Adoption (soft skills vital to project management success)
Here is a look at five soft skills that lead to project management success.
An important skill a Project Manager needs is the ability to tie a project to the business’s success. Projects are all too often overlooked by executives or stakeholders who do not always recognize the value they bring. As a project manager, your role is to bridge the business mindset and what the team is working on and communicate that using language that executives or other stakeholders understand. One example would be, showing the value of a project against key business metrics.
The soft skills needed to help teams and organizations succeed may include, but not limited to:
- Self-awareness (Be open and able to adapt to internal and external changes.)
- Motivation(Motivate your team and instill positivity and trust)
- Empathy(Read the emotions of team members and empathize better)
- Social skills.
EI is the optimal blend of both soft skills and technical skills. Emotional intelligence allows one to communicate effectively about what one has used their technical skills to calculate, such as earned value, schedule dates, etc….
Here are 4 things you can do to improve your emotional intelligence.
- Observe those who you see being successful. The key here is to reflect on how they behave and understand the reasoning behind what they do, rather than trying to implement the same thing.
- Self-awareness. Talk to others about how you come across. Emotional intelligence assessment can also be used to highlight areas where you can improve.
- Keeping track of conversations can be incredibly useful. This can help identify patterns in conversations and may help you trace it back to a specific behavior or trigger.
- Acquiring a broad range of skills. Having confidence in one’s technical skills often makes it easier to be confident in using EI.
Whether you are Project Manager or in my case a Scrum Master, one who truly understands the talents, values and potential of themselves and their Dev. teams, can manage not just their own emotions, but the emotions of others. Those who can connect with the team members can create an environment where everyone can flourish.
The results of adopting EI allows each team member to have a sense of autonomy, ability to act intentionally and intelligently, be enthusiastically motivated, and the ability to network with others to achieve success.
For one to change the way one works, one must be willing to make changes in their own behavior, beliefs, and traditions. It takes time to change oneself, and requires dedication, letting go of old ways, and most of all the willingness to unlearn.
Published at pmmagazine.net with the consent of Jonathan Ray