Kathy Smith viewed herself as a skilled and responsible project manager. She was eager to earn a higher position in her company after completing the new project. However, from the perspective of her new team, her attitude was too imperative; she did not consider or value their opinions regarding the project. Kathy failed to communicate with the new team and view her group members as individuals since she was too self-centered. Her lack of emotional intelligence prevented her from reaching the desired goal.
Executive performance highly depends on a manager’s ability to control and navigate the interpersonal relationships of a group (Holmberg et al., 2016). Leaders are required to adapt to new situations, be more flexible, and implement generic skills. Company managers practice different leadership styles to achieve commitment and better performance from employees. Emotional intelligence is the ability to assess and regulate intergroup and intragroup emotions. Effective team performance can be achieved through a leader’s ability to detect and maintain a desired emotional state for a team (Alkahtani, 2015). Even people with the most outstanding leadership skills can fail to excel in their career if they lack emotional intelligence.
A mismatch of the manager’s requirements and expectations and the group members’ capacities and work ethics led to the segmentation of team-work; therefore, failure was unavoidable. Kathy had the potential to succeed owing to her integrity and passion; however, her specific skills proved to be ineffective and unsuccessful for this task. She did not possess the ability to recognize and manage the organizational environment. A huge mistake was to push the team even harder, instead of changing the tactic and looking at the problem from a different angle. An emotionally intelligent leader would have shown awareness and empathy, as well as individualized consideration in this case.
Dimensions of Emotional Intelligence in Project Management
Emotional intelligence is the skill that involves recognizing and monitoring one’s own, as well as others’ emotions and emotional information. Daniel Goleman distinguished five dimensions of emotional intelligence: self-awareness, self-regulation, self-motivation, empathy, and social competencies (Ugoani et al., 2015). Self-awareness is an introspective view of personal feelings and the ability to understand one’s own strengths and weaknesses. A leader must understand and analyze their personality and how they affect the team to make necessary decision-making adjustments. Self-regulation is an individual’s capacity to control their emotions and feelings and focus on the task at hand. Self-motivation is the aspiration to succeed and overcome difficulties with the clear vision of setting the goals. Empathy is the attention to and validation of group members’ emotions. A successful leader builds positive relationships with their employees and identifies with them. Social management is a characteristic that implies the person’s capacity to interact and listen to each group member, discuss viewpoints, and establish a common ground.
Kathy’s strong points lay in self-motivation and self-regulation. She did slack in self-awareness since she was sure of her strengths and skills but did not detect the new group’s negative attitude towards her. The leader overall lacked empathy for the team and did not recognize the power of the group over self. The employees felt pressured under the new work regime and unmotivated since Kathy did not value their opinions or form a bond with the team. She also demonstrated poor social skills in this case; she was too focused on succeeding and underestimated the power of social communication. The leader was acting from her personal interest and did not give the team equal importance.
Consequences of Poor Leadership
During my summer break, I worked as a merchandising intern at a fashion retail store. The work environment was friendly and highly professional, providing a decent salary and valuable experience. The adaptation period was effortless, mostly because of the understanding and amicable nature of the management. They organized regular meetings and discussions, where each group member had the chance to express themselves, learn something new, and analyze strategies to deliver higher performance.
Two months passed by, and suddenly, new stores were due to open, and the management decided to scatter the interns around the new branches. My new group leader was a young girl who lacked leadership skills even to my inexperienced eye. She lacked self-awareness and was oblivious to the group’s disapproving attitude towards her. She also showed no empathy and social skills and never tried to communicate and bond with her new team. Since the store was new, the management required a more concentrated and intense work schedule. However, the lack of emotional support pushed the employees too far. As a result, many group members left, and I was no exception.
This example demonstrates how the management failed to assign a skilled leader for a newly opened store and missed a success chance. Having a positive personality and excellent education is not enough to lead a team and expect high performance. Emotional intelligence is often absent or ignored in leadership, although resilience and motivation highly depend on it. From this experience, I have observed and analyzed key management points that bring success only when each stage and dimension is implemented.
Alkahtani, A. H. (2015). The influence of leadership styles on organizational commitment: The moderating effect of emotional intelligence. Business and Management Studies, 2(1), 23-30. Web.
Holmberg, R., Larsson, M., & Bäckström, M. (2016). Developing leadership skills and resilience in turbulent times. Journal of Management Development, 35(2), 154-169. Web.
Ugoani, J. N. N., Amu, C. U., & Kalu, E. O. (2015). Dimensions of emotional intelligence and transformational leadership: A correlation analysis. Independent Journal of Management & Production, 6(2), 563-564. Web.