This is my fourth and final post in this series as I’ve worked to understand and apply a talk I heard on this topic.

Project management involves a lot of people management in order to be done well. Therefore, emotional intelligence is important for the project manager to work effectively with people on a project. In the talk, Gary introduced several elements – self-awareness, self-management, social awareness, and relationship management – that are necessary for effective team leadership.

Self-awareness and self-management were previously covered. Social awareness and relationship management will be covered in this post.

Social Awareness

Social awareness involves understanding the individuals, organization, and interaction between the two. With this understanding, it is possible to effectively assign team members tasks that utilize each to their fullest potential.

As an example, I had several technical individuals with similar skill sets on one team. However, one individual was influential amongst them. So when we were to present the technical plan to a change action board, he presented first. His presentation built the credentials of our technical plan. This paved the way for the subsequent team members’ presentations to the board.

Relationship Management

Social awareness makes apparent how many relationships exist within the context of managing a project. Some such relationships involve team members, sponsors, and other stakeholders such as functional managers. It is important to understand what each needs, such as:

  • team members: clear assignments and deliverables, development of skills, and rewards and appreciation for a job well done
  • sponsors: clear status updates, appropriate escalations, and the project delivered within the stated constraints
  • other stakeholders such as functional managers: clear communication of what resources are needed when, clear status updates, and being sought for inputs regarding requirements and risks.

These are basic requirements a project manager should work to provide. I have found that the better I do these things, then I can rely more on these relationships when things don’t go exactly as planned.

My Conclusion

As I have worked to understand this material, I have come to appreciate that though projects are very task-oriented, attention must be paid to the human side of projects because people are required to do the work. A project manager is served well to understand the emotions of all involved, including self, to achieve the team’s best performance.