EmotionalIntelligence’ (Salovey & Mayer, 1990) is now being increasingly promoted asa necessary tool for successful teamwork in project management.
Emotionalintelligence consists of five main elements – self-awareness, self-regulation,empathy, motivation and social skills see appendix 1 fig 1: which have beenfound to be difficult to test for, and certainly are not as “visible” astechnical skills. How important are each of these skills for team harmony andsuccess remains to be seen. However, it has been found that EI has twice thevalue as compared to IQ (see appendix1 fig 2), to organisations and thecreation of successful project teams (Goleman, 1998). However, others havelabelled Emotional Intelligence an elusive concept in terms of its relevance toproject management because projects are predominantly temporary endeavours andthey are soon disbanded once the project is complete (Davies, Stankov 1998), In another finding by (Becker, 2003), it was claimed that EI hasproven resistant to satisfactory measurement in order to support the argumentto successful team building in projects that cut across countries and differentcultures. Nonetheless, (Goleman & Salovey, 1998) suggested that EI providesthe foundation for competencies in almost every job. In their argument,(Macdonald, 2008) argues that EI emerges as more of a myth than a provenscience. But the question remains, does emotional intelligence play a vitalrole within project management specifically in establishing sustainable projectteams.
These clear differences of reason and opinion on Emotional Intelligenceidentifies a divide within this area amongst academics. The initial exposure toEI was because of a determined publication through newspapers and magazinesarticles that brought emotional intelligence theory to public attention(Goleman 1998). Thesepopularisations according to Goleman (1998) equated emotional intelligence toeverything from zeal to persistence. Measurements associated with such viewsidentified EI with such qualities as reality testing and long lists of jobrelated competencies and individual independence (Goleman, 1998). This ringstrue in that for example project management is an area were dealing with individualsis a crucial aspect of effective project delivery therefore, understandingemotional intelligence is a critical determinant to successful team integrationand project delivery (Clarke 2010).
For example, in the last decade models,theory and practices of team integration have changed significantly due to thegrowing demands of multi-cultural team working and greater understanding ofcultural issues and diversity in cross boarder projects (Coleman , 2015). Hence, the challenges faced by project managers in bothdeveloped and developing countries is how to address poor project performancedue to poor people management by focusing on multicultural team working throughunderstanding how emotional intelligence can be used to their advantage. Reportsthat have been published across the globe particularly in the UK which suggeststhat project managers continue to highlight that, to meet set targets,organisations need to improve their understanding of emotional intelligence andwhat role EI plays in project delivery through creating effective integratedteams (PMI, 2014). Empirical studies indicate that successful projects havebeen consistently delivered by project teams that put emphasis on how to dealwith emotional intelligence from top to bottom of an organisation’s leadership(Cobb, 2012). Therole of EI, management and development of project teams in the global contextunavoidably leads to a consideration of diversity and other related challengesfor example cultural differences and language barriers (Livesey 2016).
Withinmultinational projects, it is important for organisations to help their projectmanagers value the international nature of the industry and develop the abilityto understand everyday work related issues from different cultural perspectivesby using emotional intelligence as a project management tool Antonakis et al(2006). Cobb (2012), identified the main challenge facing organisations, whichare intending to work overseas as being unable to introduce practices, whichbalance global competitiveness, multinational flexibility and the building of aglobal learning capability were mainly due to global project team culturecomplexity. Larson and Gray (2014), further argued that organisations mustdevelop the cultural sensitivity and ability to manage and leverage the effectsof culture complexity in project teams if they are to realise their objectivese.g. profitability, brand value and global competitiveness.
All these issuesrequire effective understanding of emotional intelligence within theorganisation. Ely and Thomas (2001), and Goleman et al (2002) demonstrated thatunderstating how emotional intelligence can be a buffer to difficulties inmanaging multinational projects, increases the number of differentperspectives, styles, knowledge, and insights that the team can bring to solvecomplex project problems. For example, most innovative firms, such asMicrosoft, took advantage of this by intentionally introducing multi-culturalteam working. By considering the issues of cultural complexity and itsinfluences upon different project teams using EI as a tool has led to greatsuccess to e.
g. Google and Microsoft projects around the world e.g. skill setsrequirements leading to team success