Emotional Intelligence for Project Managers: The People Skills You Need to Achieve Outstanding Results


Praise for the first edition of Emotional Intelligence for Project Managers:

“A well-structured, easy read that delivers results . . . a worthy investment, particularly for aspiring or current project management professionals.” PM World Today magazine

“It’s the book I wished I’d written. If you don’t own a copy, go out and get one.”— Elizabeth Harrin, pm4girls.com

Without good people management skills, even the most carefully planned project ...

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Emotional Intelligence for Project Managers: The People Skills You Need to Acheive Outstanding Results

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Praise for the first edition of Emotional Intelligence for Project Managers:

“A well-structured, easy read that delivers results . . . a worthy investment, particularly for aspiring or current project management professionals.” PM World Today magazine

“It’s the book I wished I’d written. If you don’t own a copy, go out and get one.”— Elizabeth Harrin, pm4girls.com

Without good people management skills, even the most carefully planned project can fall apart in a flash. And managing people effectively means more than just keeping them in line: It means using finely tuned interpersonal skills and astutely reading emotional cues to get the job done right and on time.

According to the latest research, an astounding 70 to 80 percent of management success rests on this kind of “emotional intelligence” (EQ). Even if you already recognize the important role of EQ in the workplace, this book will help you take your understanding to the next level. Real-world examples of EQ in action, as well as checklists, self-assessments, and worksheets, will guide you through the process of building real rapport with your team. You’ll learn how to:

Establish the kind of high-energy approach that attracts top performers • Develop empathetic listening skills • Encourage flexibility and collaboration among team members • Deal productively with change, blame, stress, and criticism • Leverage emotional information to make better decisions

The second edition of this indispensable guide provides new tips on using EQ to lead and coach Agile Teams, and explores the concept of Servant Leadership, which enhances productivity by promoting emotional connection with your staff. Also included in this edition are expanded sections on self-awareness, self-management, and self-care, because before you can build and lead a winning team, you need to understand and nurture yourself.

The keen insights and practical tools you’ll find here will help you transform your results from “good enough” to “beyond expectations”—all by improving your ability to read between the emotional lines. Improve your EQ and you’ll soon be getting the best work out of everyone involved—including yourself.

ANTHONY MERSINO, PMP, PMI-ACP is an Agile Transformation Coach and IT Program Manager with more than 27 years of experience. He has delivered large-scale business solutions to clients that include Abbot Labs, IBM, Unisys, ARAMARK, and Wolters Kluwer, and provided Enterprise Agile Coaching for The Carlyle Group, Bank of America, Hayneedle, and Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Dakota.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"...covers all the people skills that project managers need to get the job done.”--Project Management Tips

“The book makes sense where sense is not yet common… bringing the concept into a viable and useful area to constructively and effectively manage.” -- Vancouver Business Journal

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780814432778
  • Publisher: AMACOM
  • Publication date: 6/6/2013
  • Edition description: Second Edition
  • Edition number: 2
  • Pages: 288
  • Sales rank: 239,237
  • Product dimensions: 5.90 (w) x 8.90 (h) x 0.80 (d)

Meet the Author

ANTHONY MERSINO, PMP, PMI-ACP has more than 26 years of project management experience. He has trained and consulted on Project Leadership and Agile methods for a wide variety of clients.

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Read an Excerpt

1 My Growth in Emotional Intelligence

A Dangerous Situation

“Do you have any idea how dangerous it is not to be in touch with your feelings?”

This question was posed to me in the summer of 2001 by Rich, a therapist

who has since become my career coach and mentor. His words stopped

me in my tracks. Dangerous? That was a curious word choice. What could be

dangerous about not being in touch with my feelings? I was thirty-nine years

old and had been a successful project manager (PM) for over seventeen years.

I had a record of slow but steady career progression. I had been certified as a

Project Management Professional (PMP) since 1995. I owned my own project

management consulting business and lived, taught, and even breathed

project management. No one had ever asked me about feelings before. No

one had ever mentioned that there might be danger involved. What could be

dangerous? What was so important about feelings?

Rich’s question resonated with me but I wasn’t sure why. It didn’t feel

dangerous to be out of touch with my emotions. However, I had a nagging

sense that he saw or knew things that I didn’t. On some level I recognized

that the way I approached work wasn’t always effective. Hard work did not

always make the difference in the outcomes of the projects I managed. I wondered

how others seemed to succeed with less effort. I also felt insecure

about the lack of personal and professional relationships I had built, and I

suspected that it was hurting me. As much as I wanted to deny that my career

and relationship challenges might be related to my emotions, I began to

suspect that Rich might be right.

The truth was that I wasn’t aware of my feelings or emotions. I was about

as emotionally aware as a small green soap dish. If I could have taken an emotional

intelligence test at that time, I would have been considered the village


With Rich’s help, I began to see a connection between my lack of emotional

awareness and my limited success in project management. Up to that

point, my project management career had been a bumpy road. While not quite

a dead end street, my career path hadn’t exactly taken a superhighway either.

Lately that road didn’t seem to be taking me anywhere. I had recently been

passed over for a key promotion at Unisys. My career ladder had literally run

out of rungs. Perhaps I had been promoted to my level of incompetence and

was therefore living proof of the Peter Principle.

Eventually I found I could no longer ignore Rich’s question about the

danger, and I decided to do something about it. I knew I needed to make some

changes. I was ready to make more of an investment in my emotions and relationships.

Initially it wasn’t for personal reasons. It was all about ROI, my

return on investment for improving my emotional intelligence. I believed

that my career would benefit from it. And after spending most of the last five

years working on my emotional intelligence, I am happy to report that my

career has benefited significantly.

As I grew, I learned how my work relationships reflected my world view.

Up to that point, my relationships with my project teams and other stakeholders

were weak or non-existent. That was largely the result of my project

management style as a taskmaster. I was all business. Unfortunately, I placed

a higher value on tasks, productivity, and outcomes than on relationships. I

lacked empathy. I had a way of driving the people on my project teams that

was hostile and irresponsible. My coworkers may have called me driven but

they would never have characterized me as a warm and fuzzy relationship person.

At best people warmed up to me over time.

My big shift came when I began to recognize the value of emotions and

relationships in the workplace. I became aware of feelings and learned to trust

them as a source of information. I learned to recognize and acknowledge

when I felt angry, scared, or happy. I also began to pay attention to what those

around me were feeling and to consider that information when making decisions.

By doing this I was able to better manage my projects, and to be a

better leader of people.

I learned the importance of stakeholder relationships and invested in

relationships with friends, co-workers, and other leaders. I learned how critical

relationships and support were to be successful on large projects. My relationships

began to grow as did my ability to lead others.

The results were nothing short of impressive. The investment and

changes I made began to improve my effectiveness as a PM. Within a year of

beginning my work on emotions and relationships, I was asked to lead a fastmoving

project of twelve people. As I demonstrated success with this team,

my responsibilities grew until I was managing seventy-five people across the

United States and internationally. As I continued to learn and apply my skills

in this area, I was able to effectively lead large teams, build strong relationships

with project stakeholders, and achieve the goals of the projects I was


Emotional Mastery for Project Managers

I am quite sure that many of you are thinking “of course, you idiot” when I

talk about mastery of emotions leading to success as a PM. You were probably

among the five million people that bought one of Daniel Goleman’s

books on emotional intelligence and then actually read it. Yes, of course emotions

play a role at work, no matter what your position. They are of special

concern to those of us in project management and leadership. Emotions play

a direct role in our success as PMs and leaders.

I was not one of the five million people who bought Goleman’s first

book, Emotional Intelligence: Why It Can Matter More Than IQ when it came

out in 1997. In fact, I wasn’t even sure what emotional intelligence was when

I first began working on my emotional awareness. It wasn’t until I decided to

include emotional intelligence as part of the curriculum for the project management

course I taught at Northwestern University that I began to read the

published materials on the topic. By then I had accepted the fact that I lacked

emotional intelligence; proving, I suppose, that admitting I had a problem was

the first step toward recovery. More than that, I had begun to grow and make

changes and to experience greater success as a project manager.

After my own powerful experience with emotional intelligence, I conducted

some research to see what experience other PMs had with emotional

intelligence. In late 2005, I conducted a survey of over 100 PMs to determine

their beliefs and attitudes about emotional intelligence. The results

were very interesting (see Appendix K for details). Most of the PMs I surveyed

thought that emotional intelligence was important to success as a PM and

were interested in learning more. However, the survey also indicated that

most PMs didn’t know very much about emotional intelligence.

Was this surprising? Not really. Sure, PMs understand basic project

management techniques and the contents of the Guide to the Project Management

Body of Knowledge (PMBOK® Guide). They have also pursued PMP

certification and become black-belt masters of project scheduling tools like

MS Project, Artemis, or NIKU. In fact, those are prerequisites for success

even as a junior PM; consider them entry criteria. But in order to advance

your career, you will need strong interpersonal skills or soft skills. Emotional

intelligence provides the framework for those interpersonal skills.

Do you see a connection between emotional intelligence and your own

success as a PM? Are you trying to advance your career? Do you ever feel frustrated

by lack of opportunity even though you have done all you can to improve

your technical project management skills? Perhaps you are doing things

the hard way as I did, working harder to make up for soft skills.

You cannot make up for

soft skills with hard work.

To advance as a PM requires understanding and mastery of emotional

intelligence concepts. Yes, mastery of emotional intelligence. PMs who

master emotional intelligence can develop their careers by delivering more

consistently and by taking on larger and more important projects. In fact,

success with large and complex projects depends largely on the level of emotional

intelligence of the PM.

PMs who master emotional intelligence will set themselves apart from

other PMs. They will be able to achieve more with the same team. They will

excel in their careers. And they will feel more satisfied with themselves and

their relationships with others.

PMs that master emotional intelligence will set

themselves apart from other PMs.

"Providing a complete framework for applying emotional intelligence to meet the unique challenges of project managers, this powerful book gives readers the tools, techniques and guidance they need.” --Primavera magazine

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Table of Contents


Acknowledgments ix


An Introduction to Emotional Intelligence 1

1 My Growth in Emotional Intelligence 3

A Dangerous Situation 3

Emotional Mastery for Project Managers 5

Project Management Is Competitive 6

The Rules for Project Managers Have Changed 7

What Is Emotional Intelligence? 8

Measuring Your Emotional Intelligence 9

The Good News About Emotional Intelligence 12

Applying Emotional Intelligence to Project Mangement 12

Emotional Intelligence Is Vital to Project Managers 18

2 A Brief Primer on Emotional Intelligence 21

The Popularity of Emotional Intelligence 21

Some Useful Definitions 22

How to Improve Your Understanding of Emotional

Intelligence Concepts 29

Learning About Emotional Intelligence Is Only the First Step 30


Project Management Begins with Self-Management 33

3 Self-Awareness 35

An Introduction to Self-Awareness 35

Emotional Self-Awareness 36

Accurate Self-Assessment 50

Self-Confidence 52

Techniques to Improve Your Self-Awareness 53

Personal Action Plan: Self-Awareness 60

4 Self-Management 61

The Emotional Intelligence Model for Project Management 62

Self-Control 63

Prethinking or Foreshadowing 72

Techniques to Improve Our Self-Control 87

Personal Action Plan: Self-Management 93


Building Project Stakeholder Relationships 95

5 Social Awareness 97

An Introduction to Social Awareness 97

Empathy 100

Seeing Others Clearly 106

Organizational Awareness 112

Emotional Boundaries 117

Techniques for Improving Our Social Awareness 122

Personal Action Plan: Social Awareness 125

6 Relationship Management 126

An Introduction to Relationship Management 126

Stakeholder Relationships 129

Developing Others 144

Telling the Truth 149

Additional Principles of Relationship Building 158

Techniques for Managing Relationships on Projects 167

Personal Action Plan: Relationship Management 172


Using EQ to Lead Project Teams 173

7 Project Team Leadership 175

An Introduction to Project Team Leadership 175

Communications 177

Methods of Project Communications 181

Conflict Management 185

Inspirational Leadership 191

Additional Considerations for Team Leaders 194

Techniques for Improving Project Team Leadership 199

Personal Action Plan: Project Team Leadership 202

8 Creating a Positive Team Environment 203

What Makes a Great Project Team? 203

How PMs Set the Tone and Direction for the Project 205

The Team Within the Team 216

Techniques for Creating a Positive Team Environment 218

Personal Action Plan: Creating a Positive Team Environment 221


Leveraging Emotional Intelligence on Large and

Complex Projects 222

Are You Ready to Lead Large and Complex Projects? 222

Characteristics of Large and Complex Projects 223

Concerns for Large-Scale Project Managers 224

Applying Different Leadership Styles 226

Applying Emotional Intelligence to Virtual Project Teams 233

Emotional Intelligence Techniques for Large and

Complex Projects 238

Personal Action Plan: Leveraging Emotional Intelligence

on Large and Complex Projects 241

10 Success with Agile Projects 242

Agile Project Managers, Scrum Masters, Coaches,

and Team Leaders 242

Servant Leadership Is an Alternative to Command and Control 248

Agile Leaders Need to Be Emotionally Intelligent 249

Social Awareness and Relationship Management 249

Positive Regard 250

Techniques for Improving Our Success with Agile Projects 251

Personal Action Plan: Success with Agile Projects 253

Epilogue 255


A Emotional Tally Sheet 257

B Assessment for Emotional Self-Awareness and Self-Control 260

C Stakeholder Management Tool 262

D Emotional Intelligence Movies and Scenes 265

E Books on Emotional Intelligence 267

F Emotional Intelligence Assessment Instruments 269

Index 271

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