In my prior post (link to it here), I described my interpretation of Gary Rechtfertig’s E.I. (Emotional Intelligence) framework, though I missed that portion of his talk. In this post, I begin drilling into this framework to figure out if/how I can apply it to my practice of project management.

The first “room” in this framework is “Self-Awareness.” A key element of self-awareness is to be honest about yourself. This involves being honest about a) my own emotions and b) the strengths and weaknesses in my skill set.


Regarding my emotions, if I feel apprehensive about the schedule or some part of the project, I actively acknowledge my emotion. Sometimes this assessment is done only in my head. Sometimes I acknowledge these feelings to the team (but only in a constructive manner which I’ll talk about below).

Once I am honest with myself about how I’m feeling about a situation, I can be constructive on how to move the team forward. First, I need to be able to articulate the issue impacting the project (without undue emotion). Second, I need to display confidence that the team can come up with an effective solution. Then I let the team do what they do best, which is to develop a solution.

Skill set:

I have generally been one to be quite reflective about what I do well and what I can improve upon. Having this honesty with yourself is important for personal growth.

Gary suggests identifying one or two important situations that you’d like to improve in. Some examples he provides include:

  • better understanding people,
  • more effectively managing conflict,
  • speaking with confidence, and
  • selling your ideas.

I personally have been working on simplifying my message. I can easily get caught up in the details. However, when communicating with people outside the project team, it is best to keep a message simple and to-the-point.

I have a co-worker who is great at this. In a few simple sentences, he states the problem, solution, and current status of a complex project. Here is a simplified example:

  • The factory was not producing the necessary [quantified] output.
  • The top ten tools contributing to the reduced output were identified.
  • A workshop was been held for each tool set to identify the its problems and solutions.
  • We’ve seen a [quantified] improvement since all the workshops have been completed.

I’ve left the details vague for confidentiality reasons, but I hope you get the gist. Each one of these four statements has a ton of information behind it – how the tools were selected, details of the workshops, details about the problems and derived solutions for each toolset, details about how much each tool set improved, etc. However, when dealing with many outside the project team, a simple message can be more effective.

This is part of my self-awareness journey – being effective with emotions and messages. I hope you are inspired to consider the next steps in your own journey.