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Could Emotional Intelligence Be The Most Impactful Leadership Skill?

By 28/03/2017May 6th, 2019 No Comments


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As project managers, we want to be better leaders. Discover these real-life emotional intelligence examples to help you become a better and more impactful leader. There are true examples of emotional intelligence in the workplace that can ultimately increase productivity and allow you to tap into your “emotional” superpowers to benefit those around you. You too can leverage emotional intelligence, here’s how.

Has a teammate ever come to work and their attitude was different, their behavior unlike what it typically is?

As their Project Manager, what do you do in this situation? Do you ignore this or do you offer yourself up to help this person, potentially to deal with something that might fall outside of your roles written responsibilities?

I have had the privilege and honor to help a project teammate overcome some struggles because I noticed when something was “off” about her.

How can you utilize examples of emotional intelligence in the workplace to increase your productivity? Here are some tangible proof of why emotional intelligence is the most important leadership skill.

Although emotional intelligence can be somewhat intuitive, it can also be learned through repeated practice.

Call it some level of intuition (or emotional intelligence) if you like, but she simply wasn’t herself and I sensed it. I took it upon myself to safely inquire about what was going on, encouraged her to share with me by creating a safe space for her to vent.
Giving her this space, she was able to release her frustrations she was facing with a peer and we were able to collectively come up with a viable solution that kept the team working together and productive without ignoring her festering feelings. This is the perfect example of emotional intelligence in the workplace.

Emotional intelligence enables you to influence outcomes

We have entered a time where there is a more heightened awareness on how people interact with each other and the kind of impact that it can have on individuals and organizations. To be an impactful leader requires you to advance beyond your technical abilities and tap into your emotions or to use today’s buzz word, emotional intelligence.

Emotional Intelligence is a person’s ability to recognize his or her own and other people’s emotions, to understand the powerful effect of these emotions, and to use that information to guide to thinking and behavior.”

Wow, this statement blows me away every time I read it. I have the ability to influence the outcome of an interaction by how I choose to show up and handle myself.

Project managers enable others to do their best work

Keep reading this article to arm yourself with the most powerful tool you will ever need from your PM toolbox. Remember as a PM, the core of your work is simply this: work everyday with humans to bring out the best in them so they can perform at their best.

I challenge you to go beyond just sharpening your skills around creating the best visual timeline or tightening up your status reports. I encourage you to dig deeper to become the PM that builds connections and meaningful relationships, positively leaves imprints on all of those that you work with and become a model PM for your colleagues around you.


Zappos is the perfect example of a company culture built on emotional intelligence.

Try this in your next stand-up and just see the reactions, see the impact, see the changed attitudes, see the end results – a happy and healthy team working better together.

Be the model of a new kind of super-human PM.

5 Examples of Emotional Intelligence At Work

Allow me to share some examples of emotional intelligence and how to tap into your emotional superpowers. These capabilities can be learned, but they must be practiced and worked on in order to reach great heights of accomplishment and wide impact. Author, psychologist and science journalist, Daniel Goleman was the inventor of one of the main Emotional Intelligence Models, called the Mixed Model. This model focuses on a collection of competencies and skills that drive leadership performance. This couldn’t be more fitting for a Project Manager who is the leader of the project.

Allow me to outline the characteristics in more detail and provide you with ways to improve yourself in these areas.

1. Self Awareness

You understand your emotions and drivers and don’t let your emotions run your behaviors or actions. You are calm and confident and don’t make decisions based on emotions. Lastly, you are acutely aware of your strengths and weaknesses and actively work on these areas every day so you can perform better.

2. Self-Regulation

Simply put, you think before you act. You don’t make impulsive or careless decisions. You are thoughtful, impeccable and graceful in all of your moves.

3. Social Skill

You are highly social and a competent team player. You build people up and help them shine rather than focusing on oneself. You are pretty successful at managing difficult situations, exceptional communicator and a master at building and maintaining relationships.

4. Empathy

You are receptive to the emotions of another person even when that emotion maybe not be so obvious. You avoid judgment and stereotyping and offer safe spaces to listen and relate to others.

5. Motivation

You are highly motivated to get the job done, excited to take on any challenge and are so effective with their results.

I challenge you to accept the ways listed below to help you connect with and improve your emotional intelligence so your day to day workflow can change for the better. If you choose to not accept these life-altering ways, then you are choosing to stay the same, you are choosing to not grow, you are choosing to not be a better version of yourself and for that, your interactions and relationships could suffer. But I imagine if you are still reading this blog that you are ready to make changes for the betterment of yourself and those around you.

Allow me to provide you with some tangible examples of emotional intelligence to approach your daily interactions and relationships. Print these out, carry them with you and hold yourself accountable to being the very best person and PM that you can be every day.

  1. Observe how you react to people and how people react to you
  2. Practice Humility
  3. Be Open
  4. Be Courageous
  5. Examine how you react in stressful situations
  6. Put yourself in another person’s shoes
  7. Take responsibility for your actions
  8. Vow every day to be better than the last

Make it your mission my fellow Project Managers, to leave every person you interact with in a better state than you met them. If we all sign up to do this, not only will our projects benefit, but our world will be a more happy and harmonious place to live in.

What do you think?

Do you have any examples of emotional intelligence in your life? Share them with the community in the comments below!


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Emily Scala

Emily Scala

Emily has been effectively managing and leading digital engagements for over the past 11 years and brings a mindful philosophy to the art of project management at Think Company. Her distinctive style and ability to move projects and people forward has resulted in successful project performance and client satisfaction. Emily has extensive experience in managing a diverse portfolio of marquee accounts for clients such as ADP, Comcast, Thomson Reuters, JourneySales and the Hackett Group. These types of engagements range from research, web/business application design and development and product roadmap development & execution. Emily also leads the PMO and inspires her team of project managers to be solution-oriented, master problem solvers, proactive managers, mindful leaders and articulate consultants who are responsible for managing and delivering against client expectations, scope and budget.

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