Project Management

Emotional Intelligence for Project Managers: Working With Others

Southern Alberta Chapter

Mike Griffiths is an experienced project manager, author and consultant who works for PMI as a subject matter expert. Before joining PMI, Mike consulted and managed innovation and technology projects throughout Europe, North and South America for 30+ years. He was co-lead for the PMBOK Guideā€”Seventh Edition, lead for the Agile Practice Guide, and contributor to the PMI-ACP and PMP exam content outlines. Outside of PMI, Mike maintains the websites www.LeadingAnswers.com about leading teams and www.PMillustrated.com, which teaches project management for visual learners.

This is the third and final article in a series summarizing emotional intelligence (EI) for project managers. See "Unleashing the ‘Pow!’ in Power Skills" for an introduction to power skills, including EI and leadership. Then, read "Emotional Intelligence for Project Managers" for an overview of the personal (working-with-self) EI skills. This article focuses on the interpersonal (working with others), right-hand side of the EI quadrant model:

It's where the magic happens—leading teams to delight stakeholders—but it can only be applied after we have our personal (with self) components in order first.

These interpersonal skills focus on empathy (understanding and being aware of people's feelings) and social skills (knowing how to work with others in various situations). It is worth emphasizing again that these models lay out concepts for discussion, but people and situations rarely fit into boxes. Sometimes we must try several approaches and see which works best.

When we look deeper into the model, we see empathy is concerned with concepts such as understanding others, leveraging diversity, and political awareness:

Empathy
Empathy is the capacity to understand and feel what another person is experiencing within their frame of reference. Beyond just listening to others, empathy involves observing emotional …


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