Seminar aims to create more emotionally intelligent managers

Sunday, March 15, 2009 | 12:01 a.m. CDT

COLUMBIA — Karen Tate, president of The Griffin Tate Group and speaker at the seminar, said one of the keys of emotional intelligence is self-awareness.

"Before someone can effectively understand others’ emotions, they must understand their own," Tate said. She will cover a number of ways to improve emotional intelligence at a seminar on Thursday on emotional intelligence organized by the mid-Missouri chapter for the Project Management Institute. Registration ends Sunday.

If you want to go

Registration is first-come, first-serve and ends Sunday for "Emotional Intelligence and Success."

The seminar, given by Karen Tate, president of The Griffin Tate Group and author, begins at 8 a.m. Thursday at the Hilton Garden Inn in Columbia. It ends at 4:30 p.m.

The cost of the seminar is $175 for those who are not members of the Project Management Institute.

Register online at:

Among other things, Tate said, "journaling is an excellent way to process emotion. Not only does it offer a constructive outlet through which you can channel heightened emotions, it offers a running record of your progress. This is especially important in evaluating the soundness of your reactions and judgments."

Camille Dickson-Deane, vice president of professional development for the mid-Missouri chapter, said that as the economy sours, the topic of the seminar is apt.

As organizations eliminate positions, “People ask, 'Oh, why me?'” Dickson-Deane said. “A project manager with high emotional intelligence can better communicate the reasons for those decisions. An employee gets a pink slip either way, at least they have an explanation.”

Tate said that while emotional intelligence has always been a necessary component of effective leadership, "in this economy, it’s absolutely critical."

"Massive layoffs, shrinking budgets and growing expectations can create tremendous levels of fear and frustration," Tate said.

Tate said such an environment requires a leader with "certainty, decisiveness and vision," a person who acknowledges the fears of employees while defining goals, increasing morale and motivating an organization.

"Only through an understanding of both one’s own emotions and others’ can you make conscious decisions about what’s right to do," Tate said. "A harmonious environment inspires creativity and cooperation."

Dickson-Deane said it's important for managers to be upfront, acknowledging the difficulty of a decision and identifying what the problems are, how they are being solved and why they are being solved that way.

“Managers can be rigid,” Dickson-Deane said. “Emotional intelligence encourages them to think about the human beings they're dealing with.”

Dickson-Deane said she once consulted for a company employing five consultants from different countries on a single project.

“Language wasn't the problem,” Dickson-Deane said. “They all had different mannerisms and ways of doing things that led to misunderstandings and frustration.”

She could not help them. “I was trained in the old model where, if a project wasn't getting done, you fire and rehire,” Dickson-Deane said. She said it has been four years and the company has yet to complete the project.

The seminar is $175 for the general public. In addition to encouraging managers to be more responsive to those they oversee, the seminar will help participants balance that relationship with accomplishing their tasks. Dickson-Deane said some people with emotional intelligence must learn to “tuck it away” because too much empathy can be as detrimental as too little.

The Project Management Institute is an organization that certifies and supports project managers, in part through regular professional development seminars. The seminar Thursday will be the first of four such events in 2009. The other three are specific to professional project managers, involving risk analysis and the work breakdown structure.

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