Elevating relationships above tasks in project management

Sometimes on a project, things can get a little bumpy.

The client has a goal; the agency is fully on board and working hard to deliver. However, the path to delivery is full of all sorts of twists and turns. Lots of stakeholders, budget constraints, opinions, competing KPIs, and personalities can all simmer away in a melting pot that occasionally leads to an issue.

It's to be expected, and the mark of a good client/agency relationship is the agency’s ability to listen, process, and respond. The focus might be to produce a digital experience that exceeds expectations, but at the end of the day, it’s humans running the show; and that's much more complicated.

So here, our super-experienced Delivery Lead, Michaela, offers up some of her wisdom on how and when to apply that human touch to a difficult technical situation.

Let's work this out

In the fast-paced world of project delivery, where time and resources are limited, it's easy to get caught up in the details of tasks and procedures. However, there's a key factor that often gets overlooked but plays a crucial role in success: emotional intelligence (EI). The best delivery professionals aren't just good at managing tasks; they're also great at building genuine relationships with clients and team members. Let's dive into why prioritising human connections alongside operational efficiency is so important.

Understanding Emotional Intelligence (EI)

Emotional intelligence covers a range of skills like self-awareness, self-regulation, empathy, and social skills. It's about understanding and managing emotions in yourself and others, as well as navigating interpersonal relationships effectively.

Why Relationships Matter

While technical skills and project management are essential, it's the softer skills tied to emotional intelligence that really make exceptional delivery managers stand out. They can:

Understand Clients: Going beyond just meeting deadlines and budgets, they empathise with clients, understand their challenges, and align solutions with their goals.

Handle Stakeholders: Projects involve complex networks of stakeholders. Those with high EI can bridge communication gaps, manage expectations, and resolve conflicts positively.

Motivate Teams: Project success depends on the collective effort of teams. Managers with strong EI can inspire collaboration and shared purpose among team members.

Adapt to Change: In today's ever-changing business world, adaptability is key. Those with high EI are better at handling uncertainty and guiding teams through transitions smoothly.

Developing Emotional Intelligence

Building emotional intelligence is an ongoing process that involves self-reflection, practice, and learning. Here are some strategies for improving EI in project delivery:

Know Yourself: Reflect on your own emotions, triggers, and biases, and understand how they affect your work.

Listen Actively: Practice attentive listening to understand others' perspectives and show empathy in your interactions.

Resolve Conflicts: Learn constructive conflict resolution techniques that focus on finding solutions that benefit everyone involved.

Encourage Feedback: Foster an environment where team members feel comfortable sharing their thoughts and feelings openly.

Keep Learning: Stay curious and seek out opportunities to learn more about emotional intelligence and how to apply it in your work.

In Conclusion

Success in project delivery isn't just about meeting deadlines and technical requirements; it's about building genuine relationships, recognising the human aspect of every project, and using emotional intelligence to overcome challenges and inspire excellence. By valuing EI alongside technical skills, delivery professionals can make a real difference, fostering strong client relationships and empowered, resilient teams.

Like the sound of the way Michaela tackles project management? Get in touch today to speak the team about your digital customer experience project.

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