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Being Fair and Firm, Not Rigid and Inflexible in Project Leadership

Updated: Nov 5, 2023


Effective leadership, particularly in the realm of project management, demands a skillful balance between fairness and firmness. Exceptional project leaders possess the ability to set clear expectations, uphold consistency, cultivate transparent communication, offer constructive feedback, and acknowledge accomplishments.


What distinguishes these leaders is their high Emotional Intelligence (EI), a vital attribute that enables them to nurture an environment characterized by trust, empathy, and productivity, all while ensuring accountability and adherence to project objectives. In this article, we'll explore the art of being both fair and firm, as opposed to rigid and inflexible, when guiding projects.


Let's delve into the five key strategies for maintaining this balance:


1. Setting Clear Project Expectations


Fair project leaders, armed with emotional intelligence, start by establishing clear expectations. They outline project objectives, define roles and responsibilities, and set deadlines, all while considering the emotional well-being of their team.


For instance, in a community development project, the project leader, leveraging emotional intelligence, not only defined specific goals but also took into account the team's emotional needs. They established transparent timelines for task completion, emphasizing the importance of meeting these expectations to ensure the project's success and to maintain fairness among team members.


2. Consistent Application of Project Policies


Emotional intelligence equips fair project leaders with the ability to empathize and understand the unique emotions and challenges of team members. They ensure the uniform application of project policies and guidelines, creating a supportive and empathetic environment. Even when faced with demanding situations, their emotional intelligence helps them address the emotions of their team.


For example, in an IT project, a project leader with high emotional intelligence enforced a rigorous change control policy while understanding the emotional concerns of team members. When a key stakeholder requested additional features, the leader adhered to the policy with empathy, emphasizing the need for equitable and unwavering project management.


3. Encouraging Open Communication Within the Project Team


Emotional intelligence enables fair project leaders to establish trust and rapport. They create an environment where team members feel comfortable expressing concerns, sharing ideas, and providing feedback without fear of judgment. They employ their emotional intelligence to address issues promptly and empathetically.


For example, leading a nonprofit project, a project leader with high emotional intelligence maintained an open-door policy for team members to voice concerns or share ideas about the project. When team members raised issues, the leader, tapping into their emotional intelligence, addressed them promptly and collaboratively, making essential adjustments to ensure the project's success.


4. Providing Constructive Project Feedback


Leaders with emotional intelligence understand that constructive feedback should be delivered with empathy and sensitivity. They tailor their feedback to the unique emotional needs of team members, focusing on their development and growth.


For example, in a construction project, a project manager with high emotional intelligence consistently provided feedback to the construction team regarding their work quality and adherence to safety guidelines. When a team member's performance fell short, the project manager engaged in a direct and empathetic conversation with the individual, offering guidance and support to enhance safety practices and project outcomes.


5. Recognizing and Rewarding Project Achievements


Emotional intelligence empowers fair project leaders to recognize and reward achievements in change management initiatives while understanding the emotional impact on their team. Their recognition efforts are tied to the success of the change management project and remain free from favoritism.


For example, in a significant change management initiative within an organization, a project leader with high emotional intelligence introduced a recognition program that rewarded team members who consistently met or exceeded project milestones. The leader's emotional intelligence ensured that the recognition encompassed certificates and bonuses solely based on the project's performance metrics, fostering an equitable and achievement-driven work culture.


How to Harness the Potential of Emotional Intelligence in Project Leadership


To harness the full potential of Emotional Intelligence in project leadership, begin with a self-assessment of your emotional intelligence. This evaluation allows you to measure your ability to comprehend and handle emotions, both within yourself and among your team members. By fortifying your emotional intelligence foundation, you'll significantly enhance your leadership capabilities, enabling you to guide projects with fairness and firmness for successful outcomes. The assessment furnishes a detailed report, offering a deep understanding of your strengths and areas for improvement, along with customized steps for your continued growth and development.


Click HERE to view a sample report and embark on your journey to becoming an emotionally intelligent project leader.


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