This is post #3 regarding Gary Rechtferig’s insights on emotional intelligence in project management. After gaining self-awareness of your emotions and triggers, it then becomes about managing your reactions.

Project or program management is generally an influencer role. It is important to manage your emotions to deal with others effectively. Gary’s recommendation is to journal after meetings to find patterns in your emotional triggers and responses. If you can identify your triggers, then you can change how you react to them.

I’ll give you one of my triggers and responses. People seeming unengaged or bored or sleepy in meetings at work was one of my triggers. While I struggled sometimes to stay awake in college (I stayed up too late studying), I never had that struggle at work. Work is just too interesting. So, when I’d see others nod off, I’d get distracted and judgmental (I’m sad to say). Over time, I learned that people have different motivations at work and different life circumstances that might be driving their behaviors. Either way, it’s not my place to judge.

To keep this from happening in any of my meetings, I think I have derived a formula that works. First, I always have a meeting agenda or objective that I’m driving to for each meeting. Second, I sometimes schedule shorter meetings (like 30 or 45 minutes rather than one hour) to make sure we’re most efficient with our time. Third, I scrutinize the attendee list so that those who are there have something to contribute. Otherwise, I don’t want to waste anyone’s time – not someone else’s nor my own. Finally, I do like to have fun at work and that means in meetings, too. So I tend to laugh and enjoy myself, even in a meeting, while accomplishing the task at hand.

So to Gary’s point:  Trigger -> Identified. Response -> Effective. Done and done.