What Is Emotional Intelligence And Why Is It Important For The A/E/C Industry?

Once a month, ATI employees stroll to the offices’ conference rooms at lunch time where we gather for our most anticipated event of the month, ATI University.

At ATI University, our very own staff from various disciplines and departments come together to share their insights and expertise on various topics, helping us broaden our knowledge and sharpen our skillsets.

This month’s topic was Emotional Intelligence and the seminar was hosted by our very own Jennifer Pagach. Jennifer has a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from Emmanuel College in Boston and completed Graduate work in Counseling while attending Lesley College in Cambridge.

The presentation was so inspiring and the topic so important that we wanted to share it with you.

 What is EQ?

The term “emotional intelligence “or EQ was coined in 1990 by two scientists, Peter Salovey and John D. Mayer. They described it as “a form of social intelligence that involves the ability to monitor one’s own and others’ feelings and emotions, to discriminate among them, and to use this information to guide one’s thinking and action.”

Or simply put, “the science of people skills.”

The idea was then widely popularized in 1995 by psychologist and author Daniel Goleman after the release of his book, Emotional Intelligence: Why It Can Matter More Than IQ. In his book, Goleman explains the importance of EQ and how it drives leadership performance, reminding us that our emotions play a major role in our thought process and decision making.

This made us think.

The A/E/C industry relies heavily on teams working cohesively to solve client problem. In large part, the success or failure of a project can be directly linked to the team’s ability to communicate and work effectively together. Since feelings are the drivers or barriers to collaboration, this way of engaging requires a high level of EQ.

 A/E/C or “All Entities Collaborating”

In the A/E/C industry, some of the major participants include the owner, the architect, the engineer, the subcontractors, and many more.

In order to simply complete a project, it’s no secret that team members need to possess the necessary technical knowledge and credentials. However, in order to promote a positive, progressive, and effective working environment (which we at ATI highly value), there are some soft skills that may also play a large role in our industry.

The skills required for us to be better listeners, communicators, and effective leaders involve the following:

The Four Main Skills of Emotional Intelligence:

  1. Self-awareness – our ability to perceive our emotions and understand our tendencies to act in certain ways in given situations
  2. Social Awareness – our ability to understand the emotions of other people (what others are thinking and feeling)
  3. Self-management – our ability to use awareness of our emotions to stay flexible and direct our behavior positively and constructively
  4. Relationship management – our ability to use our awareness of our own emotions and those of others to manage interactions successfully.

If you possess these soft skills, others will perceive you as likeable and you are much more likely to be able to work well with diverse groups, even in the face of stress and conflict.

 Improving Your Project Teams EQ

The bottom line is-your project team’s EQ may impact overall project performance.

But, unlike IQ, EQ is not something that you are born with, it’s something that can be worked on and improved.

EQ applies most effectively to leaders as there is a trickledown effect of emotions from leadership to the rest of the project team. A positive interaction can result in increased motivation, productivity, and overall job satisfaction, which in turn is more likely to make everyone else feel the same way. In order to cultivate emotional intelligence among the rest of the group, one should start with the basics:

  1. Practice observing how you feel
  2. Pay close attention to how you behave
  3. Take responsibility for your feelings and behavior
  4. Practice responding, not reacting
  5. Empathize with yourself and others
  6. Create a positive environment

Then, keep track. Take a closer look at how these small changes have made a difference in your project team’s performance. Remember, things that get measured get improved!

By understanding your emotions and learning how to control them, you are able to express how you feel and understand how others are feeling. This, in turn, allows you to collaborate more easily with your project team.

 

Sources:

http://www.arcom.ac.uk/-docs/proceedings/ar2004-0487-0493_Songer_and_Walker.pdf

http://www.bdcnetwork.com/blog/emotional-intelligence-and-design

http://theinstitute.ieee.org/career-and-education/career-guidance/why-emotional-intelligence-is-key-to-your-success

 

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