The Human Face of a Project Manager

As organisations become more focused on digitisation for the ability to grow and innovate so an edge over competitors can be obtained. Processes are being continually refined and improved for the strategic initiatives to be executed. Hence aligning business and organisational goals to the projects to achieve this is paramount.

At the helm to achieve these changes is the project manager, assisting in guiding the organisations success with innovation, growth and differentiation. Placing emphasis on project management competency.

Recent research suggests that interpersonal and intrapersonal skills “emotional intelligence (EI)” play a more important role than cognitive intelligence, particularly in determining personal success and engagement of people in the workplace. The following Personal competencies form a basis for predicting a person’s EI (Emotional Intelligence) potential:

  • Identifying emotions
  • Evaluating how others feel
  • Controlling one’s own emotions
  • Perceiving how others feel
  • Using emotions to facilitate social communication
  • Relating to others

It can become frustrating and difficult to understand how team members feel about their work and roles on projects. Engaging team members socially can be a challenge and emotionally demanding for project managers, the truth is that many project managers struggle with the social and emotional dimensions of managing the human component of projects. Failure to recognize and improve upon emotional intelligence shortcomings dramatically increases the risk of a project manager failing in their career.

Signs that emotional intelligence is at risk and needs honing, include:

  • Lack of empathy for others
  • Inability to control ones temper or emotions
  • Refusing to acknowledge others’ points of view
  • Transferring blame and the inability to take responsibility for actions

Conversely, the following are a few signs of having high emotional intelligence:

The Project Manager:

  • Are very curious
  • Have exemplary leadership skills
  • Are in tune with their own strengths and weaknesses.
  • Make helping others a priority
  • Are adept at understanding facial cues and expressions.
  • Are an excellent judge of character

Regardless of where the project manager falls on the Emotional intelligence spectrum, there’s good news. There are many options and resources available for working to increase Emotional Intelligence.

Once it is understood where in the EI spectrum the project manager is located, there is an opportunity to hone Leadership style around areas that may need attention.

An Emotionally Intelligent Leadership style will allow not only to make assignments based on the unique personalities, goals, and backgrounds of team members possess, but to understand, connect and communicate on new levels.

This progression will foster professional growth, trust and understanding and greatly enhance interpersonal success and engagement while mitigating the risk of becoming a mundane project manager.

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