Emotional Intelligence in Project Management

Emotional Intelligence and Project Management

Project Management typically includes all the steps from initiating the project till its successful handover. But as the world is evolving, project management is now more than that. Project management is now about negotiating, relationship advancement, influencing and team building, which are part of Emotional Intelligence.

IQ level is a number that indicates a person reasoning capacity or logical ability. And it was considered to be an important factor in success. But with the new trends and technology, this reasoning is changing due to the emergence of innovative generation of managers in the market, hence the existence of emotional intelligence (EI) in project management.

emotional intelligence
Emotional Intelligence; A key to success

Emotional Intelligence is the point at which a person can show feelings, settle on choices using different levels of awareness and sympathize with others. In 1990, Peter Salovey and John D. Mayer were first people to define emotional intelligence by stating that it is “a form of social intelligence that involves the ability to monitor one’s own and others’ feelings and emotions, to discriminate among them, and to use this information to guide one’s thinking and action”. In this article, we will discuss how emotional intelligence is beneficial in project management.


As per EISA framework which is based on Reuven Bar-On’s Emotional Quotient Inventory (EQi) model, the perceiving is one of the skills of emotional intelligence. Perceiving is known as the capacity of a person to comprehend and perceive feelings among themselves as well as in other people. It is basic expertise of the project manager to perceive emotional cues. Since body language matters 58% and words matter only 7%. For instance, during negotiation for the project resources, if the project manager fails to read the body language of the resource manager not only will he fail to achieve the resources needed for the project but will also fail to complete the project on schedule.

emotional intelligence
Emotional Quotient Inventory (EQi) Model


       Managing is the second skill of emotional intelligence which will allow the project manager to viably oversee, control and express feelings. The basic element of self-awareness is to distinguish own mindset and the effect that mind-set will have on the behavior. Many times, the way we present our ideas to bosses, doesn’t always turn out as we have hoped which leads us feeling stressed. At such moment, running immediately to the staff can lead to consequences such as the motivation level of staff may decrease due to the mind-set of their manager. Rather than decreasing the motivation level, a project manager must invest significant time to relax and re-balance themselves and afterward converse with their staff which will probably be going to have a superior result. Therefore it is important for project managers to be aware of how to deal with pressure and how to react to the requirements of their staff.

Decision Making

       Decision making is one of the critical skill of EI as it will allow the project manager to suitably apply feeling to tackle problems that occur in day to day routine. When a decision is made by project manager, it should analyze all parts of a circumstance, without misshaping reality in either a constructive or pessimistic way, and understand that the decision will not only affect the project itself but also the employees working in it. Change is the outcome of decision, which is likewise to cause uncertainty. During the phase of change, it is crucial for project manager to remain calm, which will not only bring about a lower contrary effect on the venture overall but will diminish the degree of tension for other people.


Achieving is viewed as the capacity to produce the important feeling to propel project managers in the quest for significant goals in emotional intelligence. Often, project managers fail to achieve the goals set by them, but the important aspect here is not to complain but rather break down what can be done to improve next time and push ahead with their remedial activity.  Determination is the emotion that helps us push ahead energetically and accomplishment. The key to success for project managers is to accomplish the goals even with adversity.


Influencing is the last skill of emotional intelligence, it has the capacity to perceive, oversees and bring out feelings in order to advance transformation. The negative feeling will, in general, diminish the probability of coordinated effort and positive feeling will outcome in a progressively cooperative relationship. A signal decision of project manager can leave its impact on various groups, intentionally or not intentionally. Such groups may include, business stakeholders, staff, resource manager, vendor, communication manager and many more. The capacity to emphatically impact connections to accomplish cooperation can dramatically affect results.


Every one of these aptitudes that we have discussed in the article is important for a project manager. Project managers need to have emotional intelligence since they are the ones responsible for working with vast majority of stakeholders and communicating with their staff, who requires a leader that the staff can rely on so as to convey acceptable outcomes. Project managers must explore the idea of emotional intelligence to have a grip on their feelings. Feelings can allow them to make a decision whether a certain choice will benefit the project or not. A person who can read the body language of another individual can be a plus point during the negotiation part. I think emotional intelligence is necessary to be applied in project management, as it relies upon how successful you admire to be!

Hina Iftikhar

I a mater's graduate in Project Management and currently working as a freelance in the relevant field. I am able to relate to a wide range of people, as proven by my varied work experiences e.g social media manager, graphic marketing coordinator and corporate relation officer.

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