The Strategist

Why do project managers need social intelligence?

11/22/2017 - 03:42

Social intelligence is an ability to correctly interpret situations and people, as well as understand and manifest empathy with others' emotions. We selected several tips from "Emotional Intelligence for Project Managers" by Anthony Mersino, which will help you to improve your social skills.

What prevents us from understanding others?
A clear vision of others is a critical skill for a project manager who wants to be emotionally intelligent. However, it is not always easy to achieve mastery. There are three main obstacles to this skill:
1. We look at the world through our own filters. We all have a set of prejudices, rules and distortions that affect how we see the world and people around. These prejudices and distortions are firmly entrenched in us. They have been our part for so long that it is almost impossible to become aware of them without serious work. We are like fish in an aquarium that are unable to see or appreciate the water around them.
2. Own experience. We cannot clearly see others if we extrapolate our own history to them. We do this when we believe that others should do the same as we do, or that our attitude to things is the best.
3. We cut the path to efficiency. Project managers are usually very busy people. We choose short cuts to be most effective. One of these ways is classification of people. We do this when we try to quickly understand what they are, so we can put them in a category or group.
How to figure out what others feel?
When someone cries, it's easy to see that a person experiences a lot of emotions. But what if some people do not express their feelings directly? Below are the techniques for recognizing feelings of others.
1. Be aware of your own prejudices. We can begin by admitting the fact that we all have prejudices. A simple recognition of their availability is a good first step. Then we can begin to explore our own biased opinion.
2. Practice learning others. We can deepen our understanding of others if we start to view life as a game or a study, try to learn as much as possible about people and show empathy.
Do you use the opportunities available to you to get to know someone? The key to improving our social consciousness and the ability to clearly see others lies in practice. It's like a muscle that needs to be built: we must use our social consciousness, otherwise we will lose it. Start today with the relationships that you have established with stakeholders of your project. At individual meetings, take time to reflect on what the other person feels, and write down a list of people's feelings after group meetings.
3. Practice finding the best in others. Make it a rule to evaluate your team and determine the strengths and weaknesses of each participant. The main thing is to strive to see qualities of others as accurately as possible.
4. Use the checklist to assess emotions. Evaluation of emotional self-awareness and self-control can be a useful system for evaluating others. The checklist includes the following sections:
automatic or basic emotions;
emotional failures;
negative attitudes;
changes and surprises;
Try to conduct your own assessment and evaluation of others using the list. Identify those areas in which you feel comfortable, and those where you feel less confident. Then notice if other people experience similar emotions.

Based on "Emotional Intelligence for Project Managers. The People Skills You Need to Achieve Outstanding Results" by Anthony Mersino