Project Management

What Is Emotional Intelligence?

Amy Whicker started her career as a computer science professor. She taught many computer languages and the theory behind waterfall and agile. After nine years of teaching, Amy decided to transition into industry, where she played many different roles on agile teams and became an instant agile enthusiast. Amy is active in the agile community. She was one of the lead organizers for the Mile High Agile 2017 conference in Denver and spoke on failure at the 2017 Southern Fried Agile Conference in Charlotte, NC. She now uses her skills acquired as a professor and an agile team member to coach and consult on agile growth and transformation. Visit Amy at

Emotional intelligence is the ability to trust and respect our emotions and the emotions of others. Like many things in life, we must first focus on ourselves before we can do justice for others. Our emotions can sometimes appear untrustworthy because they are simply a conditioned response to previous events. Our emotional intelligence gives us the confidence needed to trust and respect our emotional responses. Trusting and respecting emotions requires us to view all emotions as valid—while giving us the freedom to analyze if that valid emotion is truly applicable to our current situation.

So, what can we do to trust and respect emotions?

Learn to trust our body language
Our body language is a big part of our emotional communication. We all have moments where there is a misalignment between what we say and what our body language is expressing. When this happens, there is an opportunity to understand ourselves more. If we reflect on these misalignments, we can grow in the knowledge of who we are and how we feel. The more we can align our body language and our verbal expression, the more respect we give our emotional self. Alignment increases our confidence and knowledge of ourselves so that we can move forward with things that are truly a fit for who we are.

The most common example that I see in myself of misalignment of body language is when I am shaking my head…

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