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This is the last or our weekly blogs throughout February on the topic of Emotional Intelligence.  So, I want to feature the words of my friend and mentor Dr Martin Barnes, someone who has been hugely influential within the world of major projects and who shaped the Association over many years.  Martin once said, “At its most fundamental, project management is about people getting things done.”

The phrase “people getting things done” carries with it so many positive connotations of productivity, effectiveness and collaboration.  However, it also brings with it the issues and barriers that exist between people – misunderstandings, distrust, confusion and wrongly assumed frames of references.  And that ultimately is why Emotional Intelligence is so important to the “art” of project management.

As illustrated by our case study from PWC, emotional intelligence can be a vital tool for gaining rapid situational awareness, building a holistic picture quickly and finding the golden thread of what needs to be achieved.  Jamie Houghton, Partner at PWC recommended the following key steps to help build that emotional intelligence:

Create space to listen: Being able and willing to listen to the diverse views of the individuals that make up a team is key to aid both the learning of leaders and to develop the team. Empathy is very important — overinvest in relationships.

Seek out feedback: Leaders should encourage regular 360-degree feedback from their team. This will inevitably create a feeling of vulnerability but will encourage a more open and inclusive approach to the management of future issues.

Upward mentoring: Regular open conversations with more junior members of the team – particularly with those from different social, ethnic or educational backgrounds — can create greater emotional connection across the organisation to the benefit of all.

“Take the time to invest in yourself through coaching, upward feedback, listening with equity and having conversations to build trust. But also build strong emotional intelligence within your teams — as leaders we can’t be everywhere.”            Jamie Houghton, Partner, PwC

 Find out more in our Guide to Emotional Intelligence.

Manon Bradley, Major Projects Association