Today, we will dive deeper into the levels of emotional intelligence important to the procurement sector and take a closer look into the benefits of mastering soft skills within this area.

Emotional Intelligence (EI) refers to a person’s ability to recognize, understand, and manage emotions throughout their day-to-day activities. According to Daniel Goleman, there are five key elements of emotional intelligence: Self-Awareness, Self-Regulation, Motivation, Empathy, and Social Skills. Many believe emotional intelligence skills are directly linked to our overall success within the Procurement industry. Investing in your emotional intelligence improves the ability to effectively approach client relationships, manage negotiations, and lead strategic initiatives.

To perform effectively as a procurement professional, communication is key to Supplier Relationship Management. The growth of EI within employees or leaders allow staff to collaborate, innovate, and cope with change throughout an engagement. An effective client relationship is developed through an ability to understand client satisfactory needs and strategically achieve their needs through a collaborative effort. Often, professionals have the tendency to suppress or dismiss feelings primarily when uncomfortable circumstances arise, such as a staff vs. client disagreement relating to a strategic approach. If we’re self-aware of our emotion (e.g. frustration), regulate the urgency to act impulsively, and use this as a motivation factor, this breaks associated road blocks and allows for creativity to become the driver.

In addition, the procurement industry has valued negotiation skills and the ability to drive a bargain as a key skill-set for successful procurement professionals. The pressure to innovate products and services during complex negotiations can invoke emotions of stress during high-stake conversations. This demonstrates how EI is an important concept and should be recognized as a key player during these valued strategic sourcing exchanges. The procurement professional who has the ability to utilize EI is able to identify the source of the stakeholder’s internal resistance and create a dynamic approach without letting their emotions hijack things in an unproductive way.

Adaptable leaders understand the personalized wiring, key differences, and motives of others during collaborative efforts. They often embrace differences, observe reactions, and connect with stakeholder pain points in a nonjudgmental and empathetic way.

Procurement as a function requires stakeholder relationships, sourcing initiatives, and inherently has conflict built directly within engagements. Customers view us as a trusted partner, adviser, and mentor during these collaborative efforts. Maintaining client relationships, influencing stakeholders, and leading initiatives are key aspects of the procurement industry. Mastering our EI can improve how we engage, manage, and lead our partnerships in a productive, cost-effective practice.

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Liza Weaver

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