Poor Emotional Intelligence may impact Career Progress

The fact that the Project Management Institute (PMI) has incorporated emotional intelligence into its syllabus emphasises the credence employers place on this key personality trait. To put this into perspective, Shannon Chamber’s Mid-West Lean Network hosted a lunch and learn event to focus on the topic.

The half-hour webinar was delivered by project management specialist Dr David McKevitt, who has fifteen years’ industry experience of working nationally and internationally in various roles. His academic research includes project management careers and mentoring relationships.

In his presentation, Dr McKevitt spoke about the importance of emotional intelligence in project management, describing it as a multi-faceted concept which project managers often do not know how to engage in or develop their capacity in.

“Emotional Intelligence incorporates self-awareness, knowing one’s values, moods and traits, having a capacity to self-regulate and control emotions, the use of good social skills such as influencing without authority and the capacity to from and maintain relationships whilst displaying empathy,” he said.

Asking attendees to compare their best and worst boss or work colleague, he asked them to consider the link between their technical and social skills.

“Technical skills such as managing, motivating, and bargaining for resources can be taught whereas the softer skills of empathy, controlling emotions and understanding and facilitating others’ points of view is a learnt trait and one which good project managers need to cultivate throughout their careers.

“Everyone experiences mixed emotions when dealing with specific circumstances or issues. How we interpret them and translate them into actions is the dilemma. Our brain is hardwired to make it more difficult to manage emotions when dealing with difficult people. Our brains get us into trouble all the time,” he added.

Stating that people’s emotional intelligence develops throughout their careers and through their learning how to deal with different situations, he advised companies to consider offering training in these critical skills, particularly relationship and social skills, self-regulation, and self-awareness.

“It’s particularly important for project managers who may face instances of emotional outbursts. It’s never too late to learn new skills,” he added.

Check out www.shannonchamber.ie/events-training/ for more information of upcoming Shannon Chamber events.