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How To Lead Projects Using Emotional Intelligence

Have you ever seen your teammates stressed out and not known how to deal with it?

Have you ever struggled to manage your own stress levels and emotions on a difficult project?

Have you ever had a project get derailed because of social and emotional dynamics?

It’s common for us DPMs to become the emotional barometer for our teams. The emotions we externalize as leaders can set the mood for the team and cascade into the delivery of the project. But is the answer to stifle our emotions and the emotions of our team?

In this workshop, DPM Experts Sally Shaughnessy and Emily Hannon-Luijbregts share their experiences, insights, and strategies for managing stress levels, emotions, and social dynamics to tackle complex situations, create authentic team culture, and improve project delivery.

Then we broke out into groups to co-create strategies for specific real-world scenarios!

What You’ll Learn

  • How to assess the emotional state of your team and yourself
  • How to deploy your emotions authentically and productively in the face of adversity
  • How to address the emotions of your team to help them through difficult situations
  • Strategies for handling challenging social and emotional dynamics on your project

What You’ll Be Set Up For

  • Growth as an emotionally intelligent leader
  • Projects with a greater likelihood of success
  • Reduced stress from not having to hide from authentic emotions
  • Building stronger loyalty and healthier team environments

NOTE: Unfortunately we weren’t recording when the first group presented, but here are their notes:

Notes from Group 1 – Some good things to do:

  1. Do a self check-in and carve out time for your own well-being every day/morning – helps to focus and center you for your day and maybe help give you a handle on some difficult situations you may need to face that day or focus yourself on simplifying a busy calendar day etc.
  2. Try and take all negativity offline – do 1×1’s to tackle some hot button items individually and hopefully solution without the entire team – also encourage time for people who are stressed to take a breather, spend some time on their own well-being etc
  3. Try to keep team convos to solution oriented problem solving – let’s not complain but think of ways we can help solve the issues we are facing
  4. Tackle issues one by one – sometimes we get overwhelmed with the mountain of problems we are facing but if we can chip away one by one we start to feel like we are moving forward – figure out what issues we can tackle and which we need more time or input on and keep sharing progress as we move along


Sally Shaughnessy
Director of Project Management at Aten Design Group

Sally has been a digital project leader since the early 2000s with experience ranging from global ad agencies to smaller start-ups. She currently leads the PM practice at Aten Design Group, a digital agency based in Denver, Colorado, delivering full-service web projects for the public sector and non-profit clients. Sally thrives on helping makers do what they do best and mentoring other PMs to excel in the world of client service. And, when she is not retooling a roadmap or gathering site requirements, she also sits on the board of Bella Boutique, a unique Denver non-profit providing free prom gowns and tuxedos to teens in financial need.

Emily Hannon-Luijbregts
DPM Expert

Affectionately known as EmThePM, Emily brings over a decade of experience leading digital projects for international organizations. Specializing in the people side of project management, she has honed her craft through working virtually with a variety of different cultures to deliver projects ranging from healthcare and finance solutions to telecom products. She’s been a regular volunteer with the Project Management Institute since 2011 and is constantly sharing her knowledge and experience through webinars on a variety of different topics including how to manage virtual teams, transitioning to working agile, and more recently on culture.

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