A few weeks ago, I posted here about a relatively new research study that sought to determine the relationship between emotional intelligence and project management competencies and transformational leadership behaviors. The study is documented in a 2010 book called, “Emotional Intelligence and Projects“. Written by Nicholas Clarke and Ranse Howell, the book describes a research project they carried out on 67 project managers.
The research project was seeking to answer two questions:
- To identify the relationships between emotional intelligence abilities and specific project manager competencies identified as critical within project contexts.
- To identify relationships between emotional intelligence and transformational leadership behaviors.
Summary of Results
Since this blog is all about emotional intelligence for project managers, it should come as no surprise to you that the results of this study did show a direct relationships between emotional intelligence and both PM competency and transformational leadership behaviors. More than that, it is just common sense! Read on for some of the details about the results.
Question #1 – Emotional Intelligence Ability and PM Competencies
Let’s first take a look at their first question, which is the relationship between emotional intelligence abilities and specific project manager competencies. The table below show an X for a positive correlation. For the specific competencies of teamwork and managing conflict, overall emotional intelligence was important, as were the abilities to use emotions to facilitate thinking and understand emotional meanings.
Teamwork – Teamwork was positively linked to the emotional competencies of using emotions to facilitate thinking, understanding emotional meanings, and total EI. Teamwork was also positively correlated with the personality traits of emotional stability and openness.
Communications – No significant correlation was found between emotional intelligence abilities and communications. This is rather surprising, frankly, and something I need to dig into a little.
Attentiveness – This competency was linked to the emotional competency of empathy. This was the only positive correlation to empathy.
Managing Conflict – This PM competency was linked to using the emotional competencies of using emotions to facilitate thought, understanding emotions, and total EI. It was also positively correlated with the personality traits of extroversion, emotional stability, and openness,
Question #2 – Emotional Intelligence Ability and Transformational Leadership
For the second question about transformational leadership, similar linkages were seen as shown in the table below. However, you can also quickly see from the table that the transformational leadership abilities were more highly correlated with the personality traits.
Idealized Influence (TL) – This was linked to the emotional intelligence measure of use of emotions to facilitate thinking; it was also linked to the personality measure of extraversion.
Inspirational Motivation (TL) – Inspirational motivation was not linked to the emotional intelligence measures but was linked to the personality measures of extraversion, agreeableness, and openness.
Intellectual Stimulation (TL) – This was linked to personality measures of extraversion and openness.
Individualized Consideration (TL) – Linked to the emotional measure of use of emotions to facilitate thinking, and the personality measures of agreeableness, conscientiousness, and openness.
Overall Transformational Leadership – Linked to the personality measures of extraversion, agreeableness, emotional stability, and openness.
Project managers interested in growing in their project management and leadership abilities should invest in emotional intelligence. Specifically, they should develop their abiility to use emotions to facilitate thinking, understand emotional meanings, in empathy, and in their overall level of emotional intelligence. These were shown to be linked to the PM competencies of teamwork and managing conflict, and attentiveness. These were also impacted by the personality traits of emotional stability and openness.
As always, I welcome your comments and questions.