Project Management

Risk Intelligence and Emotionally Intelligent Decision Making for the Project Management Practitioner

Jayet Moon

Jayet Moon has earned a master’s degree in biomedical engineering from Drexel University in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and is a doctoral candidate in systems and engineering management at Texas Tech University in Lubbock, Texas. He is a PMI Risk Management Professional (PMI-RMP)® certification holder, and an Enterprise Risk Management Certified Professional (ERMCP). He works in the medical device manufacturing industry and is a Risk Management Society (RIMS)-certified Risk Management Professional (RIMS-CRMP), a certification that holds official accreditation from the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) under ISO/IEC 17024:2012.

In humans, irrational behavior is perceived to arise from autonomously elicited emotional reactions in the face of challenging and stressful circumstances (University College London, 2006). Project management practitioners are often required to make difficult decisions in such circumstances, and are subject to internal and external emotional turmoil on a frequent basis. It must be realized that, while irrational is not a synonym for emotional, they are often, in language and culture, thought to be connected (Lawani, 2016).

These two words, in fact, have very different meanings. Irrational is something that is not logical or reasonable (i.e., not based on facts, logic, or objective evidence), while emotion is a natural instinctive state of the mind that derives from moods, circumstances, and relationships (Fineman, 2004).

Emotional intelligence, in layman’s terms, means the ability to acquire knowledge of self and others’ emotions, and to apply this knowledge for self- and situational improvement, which includes improved decision making. At its core, emotional intelligence is emotional enlightenment.

Being emotionally “intelligent,” in the same vein, refers to the ability to vary one’s emotional state and subsequent actions in response to varying situations, varying requirements, and past experience.

Classically, emotional intelligence …


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