June 21, 2024

Emotional Intelligence in Construction

Emotional Intelligence  in Construction

Emotional intelligence is an essential skill in the workplace including the construction sector. With other important skills such as teamwork, communication and interpersonal skills, Emotional intelligence plays a big role when dealing with others. The below article is based on a post published in Forbes with the title “Emotional Intelligence Predicts Job Performance: The 7 Traits That Help Managers Relate”. The article published in Forbes summarizes the results of a study that was focused on the relationship between Emotional Intelligence and job performance. It also describes the key traits that influence performance. Below describes how emotional intelligence affects project management and how to develop emotional intelligence. 

What is Emotional Intelligence

The ability to identify, control and gauge emotions is referred to as Emotional intelligence (EI). Although some suggest that EI is an inborn characteristic, there are others who think EI can be improved with learning (Cherry, 2020). In the workplace, emotion control is an essential skill when interacting with others. This is why some experts say that EI is more important than IQ (Cherry, 2020). In an article published in Forbes, the author suggests that EI and job performance are linked (Bailey, 2015). This discussion post is about Emotional Intelligence and how it affects managing projects.

Importance of Emotional Intelligence in construction

Considering the construction sector, EI helps to create success. It clearly benefits construction including successful project completion. By establishing good relationships among the team members, a project manager with good EI will find success in completing projects with the support of the team. Strong relationships among the team will enhance the collaboration which will ultimately help the successful project performance. Other than finding time to improve bonding among the team members, construction managers can benefit from EI by understanding the personalities and behaviour of the members.

Factoring in the Emotional Intelligence among the team members

In the Forbes article, the author shares seven important traits that everyone can use to learn better about others. The seven traits include emotional stability, conscientiousness, extraversion, ability EI, cognitive ability, general self-efficacy and self-rated job performance. The author suggests that these traits improve our EI boosting our own performance while helping to unlock the potential of people around us (Bailey, 2015). While I agree with these EI traits, I believe that a good Project manager identifies the talents, values and potential of the team members. At the same time, a good Project Manager understands his own potentials and talents too. Therefore, he can utilize this knowledge and understanding to create a better working environment that results in successful outcomes (Casper, 2002).

Self-awareness, self-management, self-motivation, interpersonal management, and leadership are components of the model that helps in identifying EI to improve project performance (Casper, 2002). Although a project manager may not get the opportunity to analyse all the components, I will use some of the factors to identify the Emotional Intelligence of the team members.

I believe in interpersonal management and it is important when managing teams and projects. If the project manager and team members can connect with each other and acknowledge them then they will respond openly with trust (Casper, 2002). By listening to others and encouraging them to share their ideas a project manager can improve interpersonal management. Leadership is another important factor where a Project Manager with better EI inspires, guide and support the team in every possible way (Casper, 2002).  This is another trait I find helpful in identifying the EI of the team. A good project manager with EI communicates regularly. The project team’s success is important for him over personal gains. Model and reinforce the values agreed upon. He also keeps the team focused while helping to celebrate success (Casper, 2002). To take advantage of EI and to improve the EI in the project environment, I will always be a role model. Listen carefully and avoid getting some comments personally. I will also be an active listener and avoid gossip and sarcasm (Casper, 2002).

The debate of whether EI can be developed or a person just ‘has’ it

Although some people are born with EI, I believe that it can be developed along the way. Learning to improve EI traits may not create a perfect person with such qualities. However, they will be able to improve their EI skills to some level. EI expert, Ush Dhanak says that most definitely EI can be learnt. She further says that EI comprises a large skill set and attributes that can be learnt and developed (Dhanak, n.d.). I agree with her.

Self-Awareness helps anyone to identify and sense their emotions that can help in leaving the emotions aside. At the same time, a person who wants to improve EI can learn self-management. By identifying the guiding principles in life and by accepting responsibility, one can improve their self-management. Self-motivation is another powerful factor that improves EI (Casper, 2002). However, Openness and readiness to change are important if a person is looking for improving his or her EI. It is also important to connect the emotional with the rational. People who are emotionally intelligent can manage a   good balance between the emotional and rational parts of the brain while those who are with low EI struggle with this balance Therefore by maintaining a better control between the rational and emotional centres of the brain, EI can be improved (Dhanak, n.d.).


Emotional intelligence is important in managing projects and in job performance. However, most people are not with EI. Recent studies have shown that EI can be improved up to some level by improving a set of skills.


Bailey, S. (2015). Emotional Intelligence Predicts Job Performance: The 7 Traits That Help Managers Relate. Forbes. https://www.forbes.com/sites/sebastianbailey/2015/03/05/emotional-intelligence-predicts-job-performance-the-7-traits-that-help-managers-relate/?sh=2093a5154124

Casper, C. M. (2002).Using emotional intelligence to improve project performance. PMI. https://www.pmi.org/learning/library/emotional-intelligence-improve-project-performance-1019

Cherry, K. (2020). What Is Emotional Intelligence. VeryWellMind. https://www.verywellmind.com/what-is-emotional-intelligence-2795423

Dhanak, U. (n.d.). Emotional Intelligence: Is It Inherited Or Learnt?. Business Franchise Australia. https://www.businessfranchiseaustralia.com.au/blog/emotional-intelligence-it-inherited-or-learnt

Disclaimer: This article was created using a paper written as part of the MBA program.

Further reading:

The art of creating accurate cost estimates

Managing Multicultural Teams in projects

Value of Project Management for Construction Projects

Amila Gamage

Amila Gamage is the founder of Sihela Consultants and Builtlogy digital magazine. Her experience in the construction industry is over 17 years specializing in contract management. She is also an ACLP certified trainer in Singapore and conducts workshops and training sessions on related topics.

View all posts by Amila Gamage →