Measuring the Value of EQ to Project Managers

In his book The Emotionally Intelligent Workplace: How to Select For, Measure, and Improve Emotional Intelligence in Individuals, Groups, and Organizations, Daniel Goleman states that while IQ determines the fields that someone will pursue, EQ determines how successful someone will be in that field.  In other words, your IQ provides entry your job category.  However, your success and advancement at the job category you select is largely determined by your emotional intelligence.  As applied to Project Management, Goleman would state that IQ determines who will be a project manager and EQ determines who will succeed and excel at project management. 

Interestingly enough, there is a wide range of compensation levels within the field of project management.  Let’s look at some of the data that is readily available about project management compensation.  There are broad ranges of success within project management as defined by the range of project management titles and pay grades.  The chart below shows ranges of compensation levels reported by the Project Management Institute.  It shows median and maximum annual compensation for US project managers of different experience levels (see Salary Survey, Project Management Institute Website).


There are a couple of interesting conclusions one can draw from this data:

  1. There is a wide range of earning power within each job level.  For each job level shown, the maximum compensation is more than 200% of the median compensation. 


  • The GAP in earning power grows as one advances in their PM Career.  Looking at the gap from median to maximum, one can see that the variance in earning power within the job level grows as project managers advance to different job levels.  In other words, as PM’s grow in their careers, there is a wider variation in earning power from the median level to the maximum level.


What does this all mean?  First, I agree with Daniel Goleman that sucess within a particular job is related to EQ.  For project managers, that means that whatever position they currently hold, they have the potential to be successful and earn more by applying emotional intelligence.