What is Agile Emotional Intelligence?

Emotional intelligence is undeniably an integral part of both professional and personal contexts. It is the ability to recognize, understand, and manage your own emotions as well as the emotions of others. It plays an important role in effective communication, conflict management, decision making and building strong relationships. Recently, the significance of emotional intelligence in the workplace is being recognised. The concept of emotional intelligence has been ingrained in agile project management, however with slight differences.

Agile Emotional Intelligence (AEMI) is a terminology used in the context of Agile project management where the ability of individuals and teams to navigate challenges is addressed. The agile environment is fast-paced and ever-changing and team members are required to have Agile emotional intelligence which includes the ability to adapt to change, collaborate effectively, communicate clearly, and work well under pressure.

While emotional intelligence entails a broader concept that applies to all areas of life, Agile emotional intelligence is focused on the specific skills needed to succeed in an Agile environment such as collaboration and communication skills. Agile emotional intelligence helps individuals and teams navigate challenges, build strong relationships, and make sound decisions by managing emotions and relationships effectively.

Agile emotional intelligence is a key part of the agile management framework which emphasizes effective communication and collaboration. An emotionally intelligent leader displays positive qualities such as integrity, compassion, and empathy as he is responsible for supporting his or her colleagues and helps build a positive team culture.

What Are the Interpersonal Skills in Agile Emotional Intelligence?

There are different faces to emotional intelligence, one of which deals with interpersonal skills. Agile emotional intelligence mostly deals with this aspect of emotional intelligence as projects unavoidably involve teams that are required to work together. The interpersonal skills required within agile teams are as follows −

  • Social skills − An agile project team should have the ability to work well with each other. This is one of the most important aspects of emotional intelligence as it is the foundation of all other social skills.

  • Empathy − The ability to put oneself in someone else's shoes and understand their feelings and needs is also a key skill required from agile team members and project managers, especially for negotiations.

  • Listening − One of the important qualities an Agile leader should possess is patience and willingness to listen to others. The ability to listen actively to another person without interrupting or getting distracted promotes collaboration and co-working among team members.

  • Active listening − Listening is just not enough but agile emotional intelligence encourages a form of active listening that involves acknowledging and understanding the other person’s message.

  • Honesty and integrity − The tendency to tell the truth and to treat people with respect is highly appreciated and rewarding in an agile environment.

  • Social − The ability to read the emotions of others and to respond to them appropriately is often a game changer when it comes to a team environment.

What Are the Self-Management Skills in Agile Emotional Intelligence?

The critical element of self-management is awareness - the ability to recognize and evaluate your own emotions and behaviours so you can make better decisions for yourself and others. Self-awareness helps you understand yourself better and identify opportunities to improve your behaviour and achieve better results. Self-management results in two major benefits - improved productivity and a more satisfied workforce.

Employees who are self-aware tend to be better equipped to communicate more effectively with co-workers and clients and are less likely to suffer from burnout as they are capable of recognising the feeling of stress or overload and taking steps to avoid these situations in the future. The following are some of the self-management skills that are particularly relevant in Agile environments −

  • Self-awareness − Self-awareness is the ability to identify your emotions and their impact on your thoughts and behaviours.

  • Self-regulation − Self-regulation is the ability to manage your emotions in high-pressure situations.

  • Time management − This is the ability to effectively manage time and prioritize tasks based on importance and urgency.

  • Adaptability − Adaptability refers to the ability to adapt to changing situations and remain flexible in the face of uncertainty.

  • Resilience − Resilience helps you bounce back from setbacks and maintain a positive outlook.

  • Self-motivation − Self-motivation helps you stay focused on achieving goals, even in unfavourable circumstances.

  • Accountability − Accountability is the willingness to take responsibility for your own actions and decisions.

  • Self-reflection − This ability helps you learn from your own experiences.

Self-management skills help individuals improve their ability to manage themselves effectively in Agile environments and create a positive team culture, increase productivity, and deliver high-quality results.

What Role Does Agile Emotional Intelligence Play in Agile Project Management?

In the fast-paced, complex, and ever-changing environments of Agile projects, teams are exposed to a range of emotional challenges. These challenges are overcome using Agile emotional intelligence by collaborating with others, communicating clearly, and working well under pressure. One of the critical principles, collaboration helps team members understand their own emotions and the emotions of others, communicate effectively and build strong relationships. This principle of emotional intelligence helps create a positive team culture, which is essential for success in Agile project management.

Agile emotional intelligence helps individuals and teams adapt to change and it comes in handy during frequent changes in priorities, requirements, and deadlines where individuals and teams tend to become overwhelmed and stressed. Agile emotional intelligence helps individuals and teams to stay flexible, adapt to change, and remain focused on delivering high-quality results.


In summary, Agile Emotional Intelligence is a crucial skill set for success in Agile project management. Agile emotional intelligence requires individuals to communicate effectively, show empathy and compassion, manage conflict effectively, and demonstrate high emotional intelligence. Agile emotional intelligence is important for organizational success, hence organizations should incorporate activities that develop AEMI into their work cultures, such as regular training and coaching sessions.

By developing Agile Emotional Intelligence, individuals can navigate the challenges of Agile environments, build strong relationships, and deliver high-quality results. By developing Agile emotional intelligence, project managers and team members can create a positive team culture that supports success in Agile project management.