Applied EQ #18: Self Control for Project Managers

The last few posts we have been talking about emotional Self-Management.  Daniel Goleman’s latest model of Emotional Intelligence includes 6 different competencies under the cluster called Self Management.  Of these, the one I feel is most important for project managers is self control

Self Control is the ability to remain composed in spite of our emotional state.  This does not mean forcing a smile when we are sad or angry.  It does mean registering sad or angry feelings as well as controlling our reaction to those feelings.


Self-awareness is a necessary predecessor to self management and self control.  After all, if we don’t know what we are feeling it can be difficult to do anything about it.  Awareness can be a big help when it comes to managing negative emotions.  Often when we are feeling a negative emotion, we can disarm or control the impact of that feeling just being aware of what it is and why we are feeling it. 

For example, if I feel scared before a meeting with an important client, I can often calm myself simply by naming the feeling and acknowledging the reasons for it.  Once I realize that I am scared, I can do something about it.  Meetings make me scared because they are important.  Almost anytime I am doing something important, I am going to feel scared.  So when I feel scared, I simply remind myself that this means it is important.  Recognizing that I am scared because the meeting is important is usually enough to calm me and know that my feelings (fear in this case) are serving me.

Next time we will talk about using self control on more than just the negative feelings.