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Anthony Mersino, PMP (Northfield, IL) has more than 20 years of project management experience. He has worked at IBM, Ameritech, and Unisys Worldwide, and consults for clients including Abbott and the University of Chicago. He teaches courses for ESI International and Northwest University, and is a member of the National Speakers Association and the Project Management Institute.
|An Introduction to Emotional Intelligence||p. 1|
|My Growth in Emotional Intelligence||p. 3|
|A Dangerous Situation||p. 3|
|Emotional Mastery for Project Managers||p. 5|
|Project Management Is Competitive||p. 6|
|What Is Emotional Intelligence?||p. 8|
|Measuring Your Emotional Intelligence||p. 9|
|The Good News About Emotional Intelligence||p. 11|
|Applying Emotional Intelligence to Project Management||p. 12|
|Emotional Intelligence Is Vital to Project Managers||p. 16|
|A Brief Primer on Emotional Intelligence||p. 19|
|The Popularity of Emotional Intelligence||p. 19|
|Some Useful Definitions||p. 20|
|How to Improve Your Understanding of Emotional Intelligence Concepts||p. 28|
|Learning About Emotional Intelligence Is Only the First Step||p. 29|
|Project Management Begins with Self-Management||p. 31|
|Introduction to Self-Awareness||p. 33|
|Emotional Self-Awareness||p. 35|
|Accurate Self-Assessment||p. 44|
|Techniques to Improve Your Self-Awareness||p. 46|
|The Emotional Intelligence Model for Project Management||p. 53|
|Techniques to Improve Our Self-Management||p. 75|
|Additional Techniques for Self-Control and Self-Management||p. 77|
|Building Project Stakeholder Relationships||p. 81|
|Social Awareness||p. 83|
|An Introduction to Social Awareness||p. 83|
|Seeing Others Clearly||p. 92|
|Organizational Awareness||p. 97|
|Emotional Boundaries||p. 102|
|Techniques for Improving Our Social Awareness||p. 106|
|Relationship Management||p. 111|
|An Introduction to Relationship Management||p. 111|
|Stakeholder Relationships||p. 116|
|Developing Others||p. 130|
|Telling the Truth||p. 136|
|Additional Principles of Relationship Building||p. 143|
|Techniques for Managing Relationships on Projects||p. 149|
|Using EQ to Lead Project Teams||p. 155|
|Project Team Leadership||p. 157|
|Introduction to Project Team Leadership||p. 157|
|Conflict Management||p. 167|
|Inspirational Leadership||p. 174|
|Additional Considerations for Team Leaders||p. 176|
|Techniques for Improving Project Team Leadership||p. 185|
|Creating a Positive Team Environment||p. 188|
|What Makes a Great Project Team||p. 188|
|How PMs Set the Tone and Direction for the Project||p. 191|
|The Team Within the Team||p. 199|
|Techniques for Creating a Positive Team Environment||p. 200|
|Leveraging Emotional Intelligence on Large and Complex Projects||p. 205|
|Are You Ready to Lead Large and Complex Projects?||p. 205|
|Characteristics of Large and Complex Projects||p. 206|
|Concerns for Large-Scale Project Managers||p. 207|
|Applying Different Leadership Styles||p. 209|
|Applying Emotional Intelligence to Virtual Project Teams||p. 218|
|Emotional Intelligence Techniques for Large and Complex Projects||p. 222|
|Emotional Tally Sheet||p. 229|
|Emotional Intelligence Assessment Checklist||p. 232|
|Stakeholder Management Tool||p. 234|
|Responsibility Assignment Matrix (RAM)||p. 237|
|Emotional Intelligence Movies and Scenes||p. 238|
|Magazines and Journals on Emotional Intelligence||p. 240|
|Books on Emotional Intelligence||p. 242|
|Training Sources for Emotional Intelligence||p. 243|
|Emotional Intelligence Web Sites||p. 245|
|Emotional Intelligence Assessment Instruments||p. 246|
|Results of the 2005 Survey of Emotional Intelligence in PMs||p. 249|
|Table of Contents provided by Ingram. All Rights Reserved.|
1 My Growth in Emotional Intelligence
A Dangerous Situation
“Do you have any idea how dangerous it is not to be in touch with your feelings?”
This question was posed to me in the summer of 2001 by Rich, a therapist
who has since become my career coach and mentor. His words stopped
me in my tracks. Dangerous? That was a curious word choice. What could be
dangerous about not being in touch with my feelings? I was thirty-nine years
old and had been a successful project manager (PM) for over seventeen years.
I had a record of slow but steady career progression. I had been certified as a
Project Management Professional (PMP) since 1995. I owned my own project
management consulting business and lived, taught, and even breathed
project management. No one had ever asked me about feelings before. No
one had ever mentioned that there might be danger involved. What could be
dangerous? What was so important about feelings?
Rich’s question resonated with me but I wasn’t sure why. It didn’t feel
dangerous to be out of touch with my emotions. However, I had a nagging
sense that he saw or knew things that I didn’t. On some level I recognized
that the way I approached work wasn’t always effective. Hard work did not
always make the difference in the outcomes of the projects I managed. I wondered
how others seemed to succeed with less effort. I also felt insecure
about the lack of personal and professional relationships I had built, and I
suspected that it was hurting me. As much as I wanted to deny that my career
and relationship challenges might be related to my emotions, I began to
suspect that Rich might be right.
The truth was that I wasn’t aware of my feelings or emotions. I was about
as emotionally aware as a small green soap dish. If I could have taken an emotional
intelligence test at that time, I would have been considered the village
With Rich’s help, I began to see a connection between my lack of emotional
awareness and my limited success in project management. Up to that
point, my project management career had been a bumpy road. While not quite
a dead end street, my career path hadn’t exactly taken a superhighway either.
Lately that road didn’t seem to be taking me anywhere. I had recently been
passed over for a key promotion at Unisys. My career ladder had literally run
out of rungs. Perhaps I had been promoted to my level of incompetence and
was therefore living proof of the Peter Principle.
Eventually I found I could no longer ignore Rich’s question about the
danger, and I decided to do something about it. I knew I needed to make some
changes. I was ready to make more of an investment in my emotions and relationships.
Initially it wasn’t for personal reasons. It was all about ROI, my
return on investment for improving my emotional intelligence. I believed
that my career would benefit from it. And after spending most of the last five
years working on my emotional intelligence, I am happy to report that my
career has benefited significantly.
As I grew, I learned how my work relationships reflected my world view.
Up to that point, my relationships with my project teams and other stakeholders
were weak or non-existent. That was largely the result of my project
management style as a taskmaster. I was all business. Unfortunately, I placed
a higher value on tasks, productivity, and outcomes than on relationships. I
lacked empathy. I had a way of driving the people on my project teams that
was hostile and irresponsible. My coworkers may have called me driven but
they would never have characterized me as a warm and fuzzy relationship person.
At best people warmed up to me over time.
My big shift came when I began to recognize the value of emotions and
relationships in the workplace. I became aware of feelings and learned to trust
them as a source of information. I learned to recognize and acknowledge
when I felt angry, scared, or happy. I also began to pay attention to what those
around me were feeling and to consider that information when making decisions.
By doing this I was able to better manage my projects, and to be a
better leader of people.
I learned the importance of stakeholder relationships and invested in
relationships with friends, co-workers, and other leaders. I learned how critical
relationships and support were to be successful on large projects. My relationships
began to grow as did my ability to lead others.
The results were nothing short of impressive. The investment and
changes I made began to improve my effectiveness as a PM. Within a year of
beginning my work on emotions and relationships, I was asked to lead a fastmoving
project of twelve people. As I demonstrated success with this team,
my responsibilities grew until I was managing seventy-five people across the
United States and internationally. As I continued to learn and apply my skills
in this area, I was able to effectively lead large teams, build strong relationships
with project stakeholders, and achieve the goals of the projects I was
Emotional Mastery for Project Managers
I am quite sure that many of you are thinking “of course, you idiot” when I
talk about mastery of emotions leading to success as a PM. You were probably
among the five million people that bought one of Daniel Goleman’s
books on emotional intelligence and then actually read it. Yes, of course emotions
play a role at work, no matter what your position. They are of special
concern to those of us in project management and leadership. Emotions play
a direct role in our success as PMs and leaders.
I was not one of the five million people who bought Goleman’s first
book, Emotional Intelligence: Why It Can Matter More Than IQ when it came
out in 1997. In fact, I wasn’t even sure what emotional intelligence was when
I first began working on my emotional awareness. It wasn’t until I decided to
include emotional intelligence as part of the curriculum for the project management
course I taught at Northwestern University that I began to read the
published materials on the topic. By then I had accepted the fact that I lacked
emotional intelligence; proving, I suppose, that admitting I had a problem was
the first step toward recovery. More than that, I had begun to grow and make
changes and to experience greater success as a project manager.
After my own powerful experience with emotional intelligence, I conducted
some research to see what experience other PMs had with emotional
intelligence. In late 2005, I conducted a survey of over 100 PMs to determine
their beliefs and attitudes about emotional intelligence. The results
were very interesting (see Appendix K for details). Most of the PMs I surveyed
thought that emotional intelligence was important to success as a PM and
were interested in learning more. However, the survey also indicated that
most PMs didn’t know very much about emotional intelligence.
Was this surprising? Not really. Sure, PMs understand basic project
management techniques and the contents of the Guide to the Project Management
Body of Knowledge (PMBOK® Guide). They have also pursued PMP
certification and become black-belt masters of project scheduling tools like
MS Project, Artemis, or NIKU. In fact, those are prerequisites for success
even as a junior PM; consider them entry criteria. But in order to advance
your career, you will need strong interpersonal skills or soft skills. Emotional
intelligence provides the framework for those interpersonal skills.
Do you see a connection between emotional intelligence and your own
success as a PM? Are you trying to advance your career? Do you ever feel frustrated
by lack of opportunity even though you have done all you can to improve
your technical project management skills? Perhaps you are doing things
the hard way as I did, working harder to make up for soft skills.
You cannot make up for
soft skills with hard work.
To advance as a PM requires understanding and mastery of emotional
intelligence concepts. Yes, mastery of emotional intelligence. PMs who
master emotional intelligence can develop their careers by delivering more
consistently and by taking on larger and more important projects. In fact,
success with large and complex projects depends largely on the level of emotional
intelligence of the PM.
PMs who master emotional intelligence will set themselves apart from
other PMs. They will be able to achieve more with the same team. They will
excel in their careers. And they will feel more satisfied with themselves and
their relationships with others.
PMs that master emotional intelligence will set
themselves apart from other PMs.