Emotional Intelligence for Project Managers

emotional intelligence for project managers

Emotional intelligence (EI) is the ability to understand and manage one’s own emotions, as well as the emotions of others. It is a critical skill for project managers, as it allows them to resolve conflicts, create a positive work environment and lead teams to success.

As a result, project managers with high EI are significantly more likely to successfully deliver projects on time and on budget. These are few of many reasons why high emotional intelligence in project management is a crucial skill. Project managers who are looking for guidance on this subject have come to the right place.

Emotional Intelligence for Project Managers

The term “emotional intelligence” was first introduced in 1964 by Michael Beldoch. However, it was not until the publication of Daniel Goleman’s book “Emotional Intelligence: Why It Can Matter More Than IQ” in 1995 that the concept of how emotional intelligence gained widespread attention.

Goleman’s book popularised the idea that EI is just as important as IQ in determining success in life and work. He also identified four key components of EI:

  • Self-awareness: The ability to understand your own emotions and how they affect your behaviour.
  • Self-management: The ability to manage your emotions and control your behaviour.
  • Social awareness: The ability to understand the emotions of others and how they are reacting to you.
  • Relationship management: The ability to build and maintain positive relationships with others.

Goleman’s work helped to shift the focus from IQ to EI as a key predictor of success in project management and other fields.

Benefits of Emotional Intelligence in Project Management

Here are some key benefits of improving your social and emotional intelligence in project management.

  1. Self-confidence: After having read and studied your own personal emotions, you are confident that you can bring them under subjection at every time. This inflicts a level of self-control and a sound sense of self-worth and capabilities.
  2. Adaptability and influence: This means you’re sensitive and flexible enough to maneuver into people’s emotions, feelings and at times their decisions thereby resulting into a striking level of positive commitment in their activities and regulars. You have studied them enough to relate with them at their highs and lows.
  3. Relationship management: Conflict management, being a change catalyst, building bonds, teamwork, and collaboration with others is achievable when there is a conscious review of ones emotions.
  4. Social competence: This expansion of awareness and empathy of the environment increases communication and the ability to persuade, and develop opportunities to strengthen the growth of others.
  5. Leadership: Here, your team is willing to allow you lead and are willing to work with you to meet set goals because you inspire them to achieve the collective vision.

Emotional intelligence may have gone off your radar but I suggest you give it another look.

Developing Emotional Intelligence as a Project Manager

Emotional intelligence (EI) is the ability to understand and manage one’s own emotions, as well as the emotions of others. It is a critical skill for project managers, as it allows them to build strong relationships with team members, communicate effectively, motivate and inspire others, and manage stress.

The first step to developing EI is to be aware of your own emotions. Pay attention to how you feel in different situations and what triggers your emotions. Once you are aware of your emotions, you can start to develop strategies for managing them in a healthy way.

Challenges to Developing Emotional Intelligence

Developing emotional intelligence (EI) is challenging for everyone, but it can be especially challenging for project managers. Project managers often have to manage teams with people from different cultures and backgrounds, and they need to balance emotional understanding and social skills with rational decision-making.

Tips for Developing Emotional Intelligence as a Project Manager

Despite the challenges, there are a number of things that project managers can do to develop their EI. Here are a few tips:

  • Learn about different cultures and backgrounds. Project managers need to understand the cultural nuances of the people they are working with. This includes understanding their body language, facial expressions, and tone of voice. It is also essential to understand their cultural values and how they view hierarchy and authority.
  • Be aware of your own biases. We all have biases, but we must be aware of them so that they do not cloud our judgment. There are a number of online assessments that can help you identify your biases.
  • Seek feedback from others. Ask your team members, colleagues, and manager for feedback on your EI skills. They can help you identify your strengths and areas for improvement.
  • Practice using your emotional intelligence skills in everyday situations. The more you practice using your EI skills, the better you will become at it. Look for opportunities to use your EI skills in work, personal life, and relationships.

By following these tips, project managers can develop their EI and project management skills to become more effective leaders.

Practical Tips for Improving Emotional Intelligence

Here are some practical tips for improving emotional intelligence as a project manager:

Reflect Internally

Breathe deeply and regulate emotions in demanding situations by yourself.

  • Pay attention to your physical and mental reactions when you are feeling stressed or overwhelmed.
  • Identify the thoughts and triggers that lead to your negative emotions.
  • Develop healthy coping mechanisms for managing your emotions, such as deep breathing, meditation, or exercise.
  • Practice staying calm and collected under pressure.

Mastering Emotional Intelligence: A Key to Effective Project Management

Emotional intelligence (EI) is not just about understanding emotions; it’s about leveraging them for project success. As a project manager, harnessing the power of EI can lead to better team dynamics, effective conflict resolution, and a more positive work environment. Ready to elevate your project management skills with a touch of emotional intelligence? Learn how to project manage with our comprehensive courses, designed to equip you with both the technical and emotional tools needed for unparalleled project success.

Know Your Project Team

Understand team dynamics, personalities, and how they cope with conflict resolution and stress.

  • Get to know your team members on a personal level.
  • Observe their body language, facial expressions, and tone of voice to understand their feelings.
  • Ask questions and listen actively to learn about their communication styles, values, and expectations.
  • Be aware of the different personality types on your team and how they interact with each other.


Consider learnings from each project and consider team operations, project environment, stakeholder interactions, and individual and team performances.

  • Take time after each project to reflect on what went well and what could be improved.
  • Consider how your emotional intelligence impacted your team’s performance.
  • Identify areas where you can grow and develop your EI skills.
  • Set goals for yourself and track your progress over time.

Apply Emotional Intelligence Everywhere

Use EI in every project management situation to get project teams to resolve difficulties and prevent future problems.

  • Use active listening skills to understand the concerns and needs of your team members and stakeholders.
  • Communicate clearly and concisely, and be respectful of everyone’s opinions.
  • Be empathetic and understanding, even when you disagree with someone.
  • Be willing to compromise and find solutions that work for everyone.
  • Be positive and enthusiastic, and motivate your team to achieve their goals.


At Althris, we believe that emotional intelligence (EI) is essential for project management success. EI allows project managers to create positive working environments, manage relationships effectively, and lead projects to success.

Project managers with high EI are able to:

  • Build strong relationships with team members and stakeholders
  • Communicate effectively and resolve conflict
  • Motivate and inspire others
  • Manage stress and stay calm under pressure
  • Make sound decisions

As a result, project managers with soft skills and high EI are more likely to deliver projects on time and on budget.

We encourage you to reflect on your own EI and identify areas where you can improve. There are many resources available to help you develop your EI skills, such as books, articles, and training programs.

We also invite you to share your experiences and insights on leveraging EI in project management tools. Please leave a comment below or connect with us on social media to share your thoughts.

Finally, we encourage you to explore more resources and tools to enhance your EI for effective project management. Visit our website to learn more about our project management institute, EI training programs and other resources.

Thank you for reading!

Althris – Your partner in project management and project success.

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