Borrowed from Chefs. Valid for project managers, by my book.
Borrowed from Chefs. Valid for project managers, by my book.
“The glue that holds people together in a team, and that commits people to an organisation, is the emotions they feel” is one of my favourite quotes from this book.
I long believed that all that matters in business and work environments is getting things done. Business and project management literature supported the belief. Recent research on Emotional Intelligence begs to differ and for good reasons. Emotions and moods have real consequences for getting those same things done in any project. To paraphrase the authors of the book, the project manager’s ability to survive everyday surprises depends to a large extent on whether he/she has first the ability to manage his/her own emotions in the face of the change and thus lead the team through unchartered waters.
This book was like a mirror to me. It made me ask myself some important questions. It also helped in navigating better through the repertoire of leadership styles I see around me from visionary, coaching, affiliative, democratic, pacesetting to commanding and their impact on work climate.
The authors guide the ones who seek to change through the metamorphosis with practical tips and inspirational transformational real life stories, touching on self-management, team management as well as navigating the world of stakeholders we engage with for outcomes that matter most.
Is the project manager a leader? Does he/she need leadership skills? What kind of leadership skills?
Emotional intelligence (EI) is a concept that slowly but surely gets into the pragmatic business world, management quarters and project management. EI is defined by the author as the ability to read and understand emotions in ourselves and in others and to handle those feelings effectively.
It is a valuable book to me also for development management involving international teams spread over many countries.
The book explains why IQ is important to get a management job and why to keep it EI takes over.
I experienced the book the way a novice gets to know the taste of different coffees. Each chapter came with different strengths and flavours for many of a leader’s moments of the day. Simple language explains the affective and social neurosciences behind the EI.
Take away 1: Leaders needs many styles for the very best climate and business performance
The author explains the six styles of leadership he calls authoritative, coaching, affiliative, democratic, pacesetting, coercive, each with benefits and drawbacks and advice on when to use them either singularly or in combination for best results.
Take away 2: The four competences of EI: a leader needs self-awarness, self-management, social awareness and relationship management to create resonant leadership i.e. match reaction to situation at hand.
Take away 3: Ready to make changes? The author offers a simple and effective five-part process for self-descovery amd reinvention, all based on brain science.
Take away 4: Tools for reflection to regain inspiration. There is quite a choice from reflecting on your past, defining your principles for life, expanding your horizon, envisioning the future to reconnect with your dreams, creating reflective structures to be with your own thoughts to working with a coach.
Take away 5: Followers mirror their leaders. Literally.
Take away 6: the Emotional and Social Competency Inventory, a behavioural assessment tool.
Take away 7: the key habit of good leaders is practicing genuine listening.
Take away 8: awareness of different types of focus that makes a person a leader. Inner focus in the 24/7 world, bottom-up relaxed and open attention for creativity and innovation, top-down focus on what is immediately at hand. Outer, Inner and Other focus concepts will get your attention.
Take away 9: to get attention and focus regularly practice meditation or mindfulness, a meditation method stripped of a religious belief system.
Take away 10: our times demand leaders that are not just smart but wise in targeting the greater good of our world beyond the boundaries of one group or organisation.
This book has one shortcoming: it is simply too short. Looking forward to reading more by Daniel Goleman.
Yes, there are days like this in projects:
Project managers are executors by nature/by call. In times of crisis or trouble, they often find themselves in a leader’s role. Team members will look for clues. They will want … Continue reading Emotional intelligence: revisited
I was having a conversation the other day with a colleague about motivation. I am a believer in self-motivation. She strongly believes in external motivation and the managers’ ability to motivate staff.
A recent research shows “Psychologists have been considering the question of our “locus of control” since the 1950s. Those with an external locus of control have a sense of life happening to them; they believe their lives are primarily influenced by forces outside their control.
Those with an internal locus of control, by contrast, feel in charge of their own destiny and attribute success or failure to their own efforts. An internal locus of control yields vastly superior results. “
At the end if the day, it is about what works best in each team, the degree of emotional intelligence of each manager/leader and the individual’s choice. Self-motivation is a choice and it is a learned skill.
– What are you reading, Oxana? asked Frank, a consultant on the team.
– “The Project Manager who smiled”.
– Did you write the book?
-I wish. It’s Peter Taylor’s book, I smiled in response.
-See, it could be easily about you.
What makes a project manager smile and be happy? A few things here and there. An approved budget report. A reached milestone. Or just getting to bed early at night and not waking up in the middle of the night because of the critical path…
And all of the above is possible if we are managing ourselves and our relationships wisely. The research on Emotional Intelligence – EI- shows that EI is the critical skill that happy people have in common.
From my own experience and my observations I noticed that emotionally intelligent project managers seem to have in common a few things:
1. They remember that they are in charge of the project (and it is not the other way around)
They set a reminder on their smartphone in case they forget.
2. They Let Go of Things They Can’t Control
They give their best to reach the objective. They spend the budget diligently. They persuade sponsors. They work hard. And they let go if the sponsor’s policy changes. They just take a deep breath, swear (sometimes loudly) and …. look for another sponsor.
3. They do not compare themselves to other project managers. They may steal an idea or two – as a form of flattery – but otherwise they stay clean on this record. And they know their self-worth.
4. They celebrate each milestone with the team. They love to be the Project Managers of fun.
5. They choose their shortcuts and battles wisely. They rarely fight. They negotiate a lot.
6. They keep their moral boundaries untouched. They do not compromise on quality. Their integrity is rock solid. This gives the a good night sleep.
7. They keep their desk clean and tidy, files organised and always ready to be put on display. Auditors knocking on the door? No problem. Come on in.
8. They roll their sleeves up and do the work and help others. They notice if an assistant cleaning the meeting room desks of the piles of documents needs a helping hand. Happy project managers are also mindful of generosity burn-out.
9. They smile, tell jokes and do not take themselves too seriously. After all, they know projects come and go. Relationships stay.
Did you recognise yourself in the above? You can also make your own top ten happiness tips with anything that works for you and keep it close, for a moral boost.
“You think because you understand ‘one’ you must also understand ‘two’, because one and one make two. But you must also understand ‘and’.” – Rumi
Written more 700 years ago, the quote resonates more and more with me these days.
Ann Flanagan Petry writes about it with surgeon precision: “In the workplace, we often fall into just the trap that Rumi describes. We think that because we understand how to be busy accomplishing tasks (one) we also understand how to be effective in our work (two). So, we focus on agendas, “to do” lists, and clearing out our in-box. But when we do that, we are missing out on the quiet yet critical, “and” in the equation: the powerful force of mindful self-awareness.
Attention span is the length of time you’re able to concentrate on a single activity before becoming distracted. The longer you’re able to sustain attention, the more likely you are to gain depth and quality in things like learning or creating. This impacts work and life in a myriad of ways, from increasing productivity to being able to express the best of what we have to offer. But how can we improve our attention span effectively?” (“Improve Your Attention Span Through Self-Awareness”).
Swiftly drafting Terms of Reference distracted to scribble a project work plan and to respond to an email may sound a familiar part from ‘a-day-in-the-life-of-a-project-manager”. And to make it even farer from mindfulness, much, if not all of the above, is done in parallel, competing with the demands of the hyper-vigilance to attend to texts and social media. I do not contest there might be highly efficient people able to do it all and stay away from the “surprise” of the myriad of (re)work that follows, impacting the efficiency and job satisfaction. At personal and team level.
Becoming aware about it, either through introspection or during the job appraisal, is a first step. There are a number of corrective approaches to improve our attention span. See for example, work by Ann Flanagan Petry vhttp://morethansound.net/attention-span-self-awareness/#.WJxzOGczVRA
Or watch Daniel Goleman on Focus: The Secret of High Performance and Fulfilment. Preferably without being distracted 🙂
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