Leading through Influence

Leading through Influence

The Emotional Intelligence Revolution for Project Professionals

By Lysa Morrison

In the fast-paced world of project management, where change is the only constant and challenges come in all shapes and sizes, a new breed of professionals is rising to the occasion. They wield Emotional Intelligence (EI) as their secret weapon, unlocking the power of influence and inspirational leadership in innovative and engaging ways.

Mastering the Art of Influencing: EI’s Jedi Mind Trick

Imagine project managers as modern-day Jedis, walking into a room armed not with lightsabers but with a mastery of influence. Influencing, a core EI competency, is the ability to create a positive impact on others, persuading them to rally behind your cause.

To harness the force of influence, leaders must possess emotional self-awareness and self-control. Picture them as emotional Jedis, managing themselves with adaptability, positivity, and empathy. These qualities enable them to express their ideas in ways that resonate with others.

Influence isn’t just about getting your way; it’s about doing so meaningfully and effectively.

Competent influencers gather support with ease and lead engaged, motivated teams. The key to unlocking influence lies in establishing trust, the bedrock upon which influence is built. Building connections and empathy precedes changing minds. A well-established connection primes others to be open to what you have to say.

For project managers, influence is more than a tool; it’s a lifeline. Managing diverse groups without direct authority requires persuasion and inspiration rather than mandates. In a realm where many different groups report to you, influence is your Excalibur. It’s the most powerful way to rally the troops toward a clear objective, especially when you lack direct control.

Empathy is the secret sauce of influence. Without it, persuading or convincing others becomes an uphill battle. Those who excel in this competency not only persuade but also gain support for their agenda by appealing to others’; self-interest, anticipating responses, and developing behind-the-scenes support.

Remember, project managers can’t simply order employees to comply; they must inspire and persuade, ensuring that everyone is aligned with a shared vision.

Inspirational Leadership: Unleashing Your Inner Rock Star

In the world of EI, inspirational leadership is your guitar solo on the stage of project management. It’s the ability to inspire and guide individuals and groups, extracting their best performance.

To lead inspiringly, you must connect with your team on a deeper level. Think of it as channelling the collective spirit of a rock concert. The first step is self-awareness; authentic inspiration can only come from a place of genuine inspiration. It requires mindfulness, deep emotional self-awareness, and a positive mindset.

Successful inspirational leaders orchestrate coalitions within their teams, forging unity toward a shared vision. When all these elements come together, you become the rock star of leadership, commanding a stage where your team’s performance reaches new heights.

Cialdini’s Principles of Persuasion: Your Toolkit of Jedi Tricks

Robert Cialdini’s principles of persuasion are like a Jedi toolkit for project professionals:

Social Proof: Showcase key supporters to bolster your credibility, as if Yoda himself gave you a nod of approval.

Reciprocity: Offer valuable insights and support, invoking the spirit of reciprocity among your team members.

Authority: Establish yourself as the expert, donning metaphorical Jedi robes that exude trust and credibility.

Liking: Build authentic relationships, making your project team feel like an irresistible force of nature.

Commitment & Consistency: Encourage small commitments that lead to greater buy-in, much like building a rebel alliance.

Scarcity: Highlight the uniqueness and exclusivity of your project, akin to the Millennium Falcon’s rarity in the galaxy.

Unity: Forge an unbreakable bond within your team, turning them into a cohesive force dedicated to your project’s success.

In a world teeming with change and uncertainty, the importance of Emotional Intelligence cannot be overstated. While AI may automate tasks, it can never replicate the human qualities of emotional intelligence and creativity. EI equips us to manage the accelerating changes, disruptions, and challenges we face with compassion and resilience.

Through improved emotional intelligence, we enhance job prospects, elevate workplace performance, strengthen relationships, and bolster our own well-being. Emotional intelligence isn’t a fixed trait; it’s a skill that can be learned and honed. So, as you embark on your journey to master EI, remember that the force is with you. May your influence be meaningful, your leadership inspirational, and your journey both innovative and engaging.