Emotional intelligence (EI) is considered to be an essential part of a project manager’s skill set, often meaning the difference between project success or failure. Project managers with naturally high EI have a distinct advantage, employing their interpersonal sensitivity and tempered communication style to convince and persuade even the most difficult team members or stakeholders.
However, when negotiating over resources, budgets and schedules that are critical for the project’s success, an overemphasis on openness, trust and willingness to compromise can leave high EI negotiators vulnerable to exploitation, particularly when dealing with more ruthless lower EI counterparts.
This paper examines emotional resilience and tough tactics in negotiation as important elements of EI in project management that paradoxically can be especially difficult for naturally high EI individuals. It assesses current theory and suggests areas for further research.