Mudassir Iqbal

When we talk about project management, it’s one of the most functional management cores in organizations around the globe. While we talk about technical or hard skills more often to better compete in this field, I decided to explore the soft skills domain and how it can contribute to the entire concept. The foremost model with great significance in this wide-ranging field is emotional intelligence. Once again, I would say emotional intelligence is way too broad to be explained in one article. Therefore, I have selected one important segment of emotional intelligence “Self-Awareness”. Let’s talk about it!

Self-Awareness Essential to Emotional Intelligence

If you are looking forward to understanding the core concept of self-awareness, all you need to do is take a step back and evaluate your behavior – this includes your motivation, ethics, and feelings. You need to understand your personality and how it is working in a professional setting. The theory goes way further than intellectual understanding. You will need to understand the emotional state whether it is contentment, distress, or anger which makes an important part of our life.

It won’t be exaggerating to say that self-awareness makes the foundation to manage our thoughts, emotions, and behaviour. It makes an important groundwork for the understanding and consideration that inspire social intelligence in a work environment. This can lead to effective communication and collaboration among the team and encourage healthy relationships. By implementing these strategies in my years of career, I have found that focusing on ourselves helps us evaluate our behaviour and associate it with the values and standards of the organization.

Now let’s talk about emotional awareness. It is referred to the ability to comprehend, cope and apply the power of emotions in a real-life setting. An old school of thought says that keeps your emotions out of the workplace. However, this cannot be applied in a real situation. Emotions stay with you wherever you are and suppressing those means you are making decisions with very limited information.

Emotions can be positive or negative – at the end of they, it is the information. At the same time, managing these responses can help you stay competitive in the work environment. When it comes to emotional awareness, it’s more of meeting yourself and understanding your unique needs. Having good EI means you are trying to be more competitive leading to improved productivity.

Here I have listed the key areas where emotional awareness can contribute to project management skills.

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Being a human, we all have emotions. These emotions can be your strength or weakness and they do differ in intensity. It can be challenging for you to work in a professional environment if these emotions overpower or interfere with your progress. Being well aware of yourself, you can channel these emotions into productive outcomes for the project you are working on.

Analyze Yourself for Better Decisions

In the situation of crises or emergencies, project managers most of the time takes all the responsibility and assume they can act as the true savior. Well, this cannot be always the case. I consider it a misconception. Being a project manager, you should be able to figure out your limitations and how far you can resolve the problem. If you can understand your strength and weakness, you will be in a better position to solve these challenges. Do not compare yourself with a superhero, be realistic.

It is important to understand the ground realities in order to keep the damage as minimal as possible. Do not panic even if you think that you are in a vulnerable situation. Just make sure to understand your strengths, drawbacks, and limitations. Once you better understand yourself, you can follow a more practical approach.

For self-awareness, you need to practice random thoughts or situations involving both internal and external events. One of the best ways you can consider is to follow a mindfulness practice. Whether you want to take on an official or unofficial meditation practice, it will help you one way or another. Question your fundamental beliefs or instinct-driven decisions. At the same time, I recommend you take feedback from your subordinates or peers in the field.  

Confidence Takes You One Step Ahead  

Keep in mind influence is the real power, especially in the field of project management. It begins with your confidence. If your team is unable to see confidence in you, they may have credibility concerns. This means being confident is one of the most important qualities for a project manager. A significant part of your work relies on winning the confidence of the team, stakeholders, and clients. Also, it contributes to advancing your emotional intelligence level. It’s an important feature of many formal pieces of training for project management certifications – much of the learning is associated with knowing about yourself and cultivating confidence.

Many modern-day project managers work under a lot of pressure. While there is a feedback mechanism in most organizations, still there is a need of analyzing yourself impartially. I may call it searching a bit of your soul. It involves the way you think and feels, how you manage diverse situations and how you can improve them.

Emotionally intelligent project managers contribute to the team spirit and productivity is not because they are in a good mood or their ability to always say what is right. But it is more of a sequence of coordinated activities constituting a certain management style. This is where the concept of self-awareness can make you more professional. Take out some time for self-awareness and work on this part. Ready for this challenge?

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Further Readings

  1. Project Management | Top 8 Must-Have Social Skills
  2. Important Motivational Elements for Project Success
  3. Empathy: The Winning Skill in Project Management
  4. Project Management: Self-Learning Journey
  5. Self-Regulation: Foundation of Emotional Intelligence

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