Ruth Pearce

Presentation: Strengths-Based Project Management: Social Intelligence for Project Managers

Abstract: In the 1990s Daniel Goleman introduced us to the little known but increasingly researched concept of Emotional Intelligence – the ability to recognize and manage our emotions, responses and behaviors. Over a decade later, Goleman raised the profile of Social Intelligence – the ability to perceive the needs of others and adapt our behavior to better connect with them. Humans are wired to connect.

Research by the VIA Institute on Character has identified 24 universally applicable character strengths that are at the core of what makes us our best selves and makes us tick. One of these strengths is social intelligence. We can measure it.

A recent study by ALLE LLC suggests that social intelligence is a character strength that project managers may want but often rank lower than the rest of the population – which includes their team members and stakeholders. (Study available here:
Social intelligence combined with emotional intelligence is the glue that creates cohesive teams. The ability to connect. Having the strengths and skills to make those connections is a key part of being an effective project manager. We communicate We act as the central point of contact on a project. We work to influence others. All of these tasks are made harder when we don’t have all the tools we need – namely high levels of social intelligence.

The good news is that social intelligence can be learned, and this session explores both the reasons why it makes sense to develop social intelligence as well as practical and immediately applicable ways to do so.


  1. Name and apply your own character strengths
  2. Spot, explain and cultivate character strengths in others
  3. Develop social intelligence to create cohesive teams and a great place to work

PMI Talent Triangle: Leadership

Biography: Ruth Pearce is CEO and founder of Project Motivator (ALLE LLC) offering project leadership services, and training and coaching for project managers. She is a Certified Coach Trainer. With 25 years of project and program management experience in financial services, state government and non-profits, working with teams across the globe, her focus is developing skills in human factors enabling leaders to build empowered and engaged teams that deliver. Using character strengths and positive psychology, she helps project leaders and their teams feel better about work. They find their purpose. She is the author of Be A Project Motivator: Unlock the Secrets of Strengths-Based Project Management.

Ruth speaks about social intelligence, character strengths and mindfulness to audiences online and in person and has reached over 16000 people worldwide to date. She has spoken at three live global PMI events as well as many PMI Chapter meetings. She also contributes to PMWorld360, Forbes magazine, and the project management platform She has been a guest on numerous podcasts and was interviewed by Dr. Ryan Niemiec, Director of Education for the VIA Institute on Character.

Her motto is Be hopeful; Be strong; Be brave; Be Curious

Ruth’s signature strengths are Appreciation of Beauty & Excellence, Bravery, Curiosity, Fairness, and Gratitude.