Research Shows Project Managers Need Emotions More Than Intelligence

Research Shows Project Managers Need Emotions More Than Intelligence

Thanks to my friend Ginger Levin for alerting me to a recent article in the International Journal of Project Management.  The article is titled “Matching the project manager’s leadership style to project type” and it is written by Ralf Muller and J. Rodney Turner.  It details research they conducted to test relationships between a project success and the project manager’s IQ (Intelligence Quotient), EQ (Emotional Intelligence), and MQ (Managerial Competence).

The big news is that their research showed a strong correlation between emotional intelligence and project success, and no relationship (or a negative relationship) between project success and IQ and MQ.  Specifically, the competencies of conscientiousness, sensitivity and communication are significant for all types of projects.  Muller and Turner reported that:

“We see that on high performing projects from the complete sample, and on high performing projects from each of the three application areas, emotional competencies are significant contributors to project success, but managerial and intellectual ones are not.  Looking at the 15 individual competencies, we see that on all high performing projects conscientiousness, sensitivity and communication are correlated to project success, but strategic perspective is negatively correlated to project success.”

This is exciting, not just because it confirms what many of us already believed, but it is one of the first studies to officially link the project manager’s emotional intelligence to the success of the project.

There is a lot of great information in the article and I am planning to explore it in detail over the next few posts.  If you can’t wait and don’t get the International Journal of Project Management (through the International Association of Project Management), you can buy the article through Science Direct.

This Post Has One Comment

  1. Hello Anthony:
    Thanks for the heads up. J. Rodney Turner taught me project management on my MBA at Henley Management college. His book The Handbook of Project Based Management hints at EQ competencies and it’s interesting to see that he’s developed this subject even further. I look forward to exploring the article in greater depth. Congratulations also on “giving birth” to your book.

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