Project Management

Emotional Intelligence: The Key to Successful Project Management

David is an experienced project manager, and founder and CEO of, a SaaS project management and collaboration application.

In the 20 years since Daniel Goleman first published his book on the subject, emotional intelligence has become recognized as the most important predictor of professional success. As a practitioner of project management and the founder of a PM software company, I consider the study of emotional intelligence to be as important as the understanding of methodologies and processes.

This article reviews the five components of emotional intelligence and explores how these apply to project management.

“I know that I am intelligent, because I know that I know nothing.” - Socrates

1. Self-awareness: “The ability to recognize and understand personal moods and emotions and drives, as well as their effect on others. The hallmarks of self-awareness include self-confidence, realistic self-assessment, and a self-deprecating sense of humor.”2

A good project manager must make an honest assessment of their own strengths and weaknesses—and those of their team as well. Effective teams are comprised of individuals with different talents, working styles and skill sets, and it is impossible to assemble a team where everyone will excel in the same area. One cannot expect two electrical engineers to have identical traits—one can conceptualize the big picture easily, while the other can …

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