top of page

The EQ Advantage: Tame the Creep to Save the Project

Image thanks to Marc Chagall and Gemini

Project management is too often perceived as a strictly technical domain, demanding meticulous planning, resource allocation, and adherence to deadlines. While these aspects of project "plumbing" are crucial, an all too often under-emphasised, but equally vital ingredient for project success is emotional intelligence (EQ).

EQ, the ability to understand, use, and manage your own emotions in positive ways to achieve your goals and navigate social relationships effectively,. It plays a surprisingly significant role in project leadership. Let's delve into why and explore how fostering EQ can be your secret weapon against the silent killer of projects: scope creep.

The EQ Advantage in Project Management:

  • Effective Communication: Projects thrive on clear and timely communication. High EQ leaders excel at actively listening to stakeholders, expressing themselves articulately, and managing diverse viewpoints. This fosters trust, transparency, and collaboration, preventing misunderstandings and miscommunication that can fuel scope creep.

  • Empathy and Conflict Resolution: Projects inevitably encounter challenges and disagreements. Emotionally intelligent leaders possess the ability to empathise with team members, navigate conflicts constructively, and find solutions that address everyone's concerns. This fosters a positive and productive work environment, minimising friction that might lead to uncontrolled scope changes.

  • Motivation and Engagement: Keeping teams motivated and engaged throughout a project is essential. Emotionally intelligent leaders inspire and empower their teams by recognising individual strengths, providing constructive feedback, and fostering a sense of ownership. This translates into a more dedicated and focused workforce, less susceptible to distractions or deviations from the project's core objectives.

Scope Creep: The Silent Killer:

"Scope creep" refers to the gradual and uncontrolled introduction of new features, functionalities, or requirements into a project after its initial planning stage. Often driven by stakeholder requests, changing priorities, or unforeseen circumstances, scope creep can be detrimental to project success. It can:

  • Increase complexity: Adding new elements to an existing project adds layers of complexity, making it harder to manage and potentially leading to errors or delays.

  • Strain resources: Accommodating additional scope often requires stretching existing resources thin, compromising quality and potentially leading to burnout among team members.

  • Extend timelines and budgets: Inevitably, scope creep pushes deadlines further and necessitates additional resources, leading to budget overruns and project delays.

EQ is the Antidote:

Here's how emotional intelligence can be harnessed to combat scope creep:

  • Managing expectations: Setting realistic expectations with stakeholders at the outset, clearly communicating project boundaries, and proactively addressing potential changes can help prevent scope creep before it arises.

  • Effective negotiation: Emotionally intelligent leaders can navigate conversations about scope changes with empathy and assertiveness. They can effectively explain the potential consequences of introducing new elements and negotiate mutually agreeable solutions that minimise disruptions.

  • Building trust and transparency: Fostering an environment of open communication and trust allows for early identification and discussion of potential scope changes. This enables proactive adjustments and minimises the risk of uncontrolled modifications derailing the project.


In today's dynamic and ever-evolving project landscape, mastering technical (plumbing) skills is not enough for success. Cultivating emotional intelligence equips project leaders with the necessary tools to navigate complex situations, build strong relationships, and foster a collaborative environment. By leveraging EQ, you can effectively manage expectations, address challenges constructively, and ultimately combat the silent killer of projects – scope creep – ensuring your projects stay on track and deliver success.

Remember, emotional intelligence is a journey, not a destination. The great news is (unlike IQ) your EQ can be developed and grown with coaching and training. By continuously developing your EQ especially with coaching as part of regular status reviews and performance reporting during project delivery, you can empower yourself and your team to achieve remarkable results, one well-managed project at a time.

Inspired to Tame the Creep:

Are you inspired to cultivate a stronger professional practice for you and your team that will control project scope and build an enviable reputation for trusted project success?

Applied EQ Services is here to guide you every step of the way.

Our comprehensive project coaching services are designed to optimise project setup processes and develop real world delivery skills, building clear insight and understanding for Project Managers to more confidently conduct their project "orchestra".

Improve applied emotional intelligence to set-up , guide & deliver transformation projects successfully. Avoid re-running that all too familiar "heroic tragedy" and add value, not cost to your projects.

Don't wait another moment to take the first step towards professional quality project performance – contact us today!


bottom of page