25 Jul 2013

Competencies for Project Managers: IQ – or “Intellectual Competence”

Article on - Competencies for Project Managers: IQ – or “Intellectual Competence”

Intellectual competence is necessary for project managers, and indeed any managers in the business world. Here’s the definition of the IQ leadership competence as proposed by Dulewicz and Higgs (2003):

  • Critical Analysis and judgment
  • Vision and imagination
  • Strategic perspective
We should mention here that IQ (leadership competence) is different to IQ (intelligence quotient) that some of us were subjected to at school.  An intelligence quotient is a score from one of several different tests attempting to measure a person’s intelligence. We won’t tackle the debate about whether it is desirable, or even possible to accurately define someone’s intelligence. The IQ’s of a large number of people can be modelled with a Normal Distribution, around the figure of 100.

The American Psychological Association’s report ‘Intelligence: Knowns and Unknowns’ states that other individual characteristics such as interpersonal skills, aspects of personality etc. are probably of equal or greater importance than IQ.

Others have argued that IQ is the best tool to help figure out who to hire at any career stage as it is independent of experience, personality bias or any formal training the subject has acquired.

Intelligence Quotient is a tool that can help us in certain limited circumstances, and should be used with care.

Moving back to Intellectual Competence:
  • Critical Analysis and judgment
Involves determining the meaning and significance of what is observed or expressed, and determining whether there is adequate justification to accept a particular conclusion as true
  • Vision and imagination
This involves the ability to see mental images in your mind of something that exists, and also the ability to imagine objects, situations or circumstances that do not exist now. Imagination involves all the five senses of sight, sound, taste, smell or touch
  • Strategic perspective
This involves developing a long-term, broad-based perspective on successful project initiatives, and converting the vision into an action plan. The project manager also needs to revise the strategy in the light of changing circumstances
We’ll also mention a few general details about intelligence, gathered from various psychology text-books:
  • Intelligence reaches a peak around the age of 30 (Wechsler, 1955).
  • Older generations inevitably have lower general intelligence due to poorer diet. People today are smarter (Schaie, 1983).
  • (Talland, 1968) found that participants aged 77 to 89 remembered less than half the number of items that a 20-25 year old age group could recall on a short-term memory test.
  • (Kimmel, 1990) suggested that older people show highly competent memory skills in areas such as long-term recall or expert memory skills.
We recommend enhancing your intellectual competence by keeping active, healthy, and empowering yourself by gaining knowledge from books, the internet, and attending relevant training courses.

Contributed by: Peter James Gilliland
Peter is a Director and Founding Partner of ePM Training Services Pte Ltd. He is an experienced professional consultant, trainer and facilitator with over 25 years of experience leading complex engineering projects in the mobile radio and telecoms infrastructure industry. Peter and his partners provide consultancy and training services to help companies and individuals complete their projects on schedule, within budget, to achieve their goals and maximize customer satisfaction.