Automation Team: Manage Your Emotions

April 1, 2011
Dealing with your emotions rocketed to the top of the visibility index last month, due to internal research released by Google Inc. (, the Mountain View, Calif.-based Web-search juggernaut. In results that may be surprising to some, the company found that emotional control is one of the biggest keys to effective leadership.

Steven L. Anderson agrees. You must understand and manage your emotions in order to become the leader that you wish to be, counsels Anderson, who is president and senior leadership consultant at Integrated Leadership Systems LLC, (, a Westerville, Ohio, leadership consulting firm. Completing a four-step process moves you toward success.

The first step is to acknowledge your emotions, according to Anderson. Then, you need to accept that you have that emotion. This is key, for if you try to bury it, you will have other problems. Then, you need to step back and assess the emotion. Finally, you take an action. It is important that you get engaged with others as you work it out. “Focus on the process, not on goals,” he adds. “Always have your benchmarks in view and see the big picture.”

Many years ago, this writer worked for a company that spent a lot of money for a human resources (HR) team to study leadership and management, then visit all of the company’s locations to teach what they had learned. One class stuck. Researchers studied the characteristics of a good boss by asking those who had bosses what they liked.

Naturally, the researchers were able to fit everything into a 2x2 matrix. “Feel for people” (poor – good) scaled on the Y-axis, while “intellectual control of emotions” scaled on the X-axis (poor - good). So, lower left was poor/poor; upper left (good/poor); lower right (poor/good); upper right (good/good). What the researchers discovered was that feel for people had little effect. Intellectual control of emotions was the key. People prefer bosses who are emotionally stable.

News broke in the middle of March about a research study conducted by Google human resources personnel. Google is a company driven by analytics, so, not surprisingly, the HR team turned to analytics to study the company’s managers. Dubbed “Project Oxygen” (see, for example, a July 2010 article at Human Resource Executive Online (, the results were reported by “The New York Times” (, the “Economic Times”
( and “Silicon Alley Insider” (

The Google team discovered that technical ability was not a determining factor, but that emotional control was. It further identified eight habits of highly effective managers. These are listed above, in order of priority from most important to least important.

Gary Mintchell, [email protected], is Editor in Chief of Automation World.

January 2007, Related Primer – Healthy Relationships Manufacture Project Success
To read the feature article, visit

April 2011, Related Feature – Eight Habits of Highly Effective Managers
To read the feature article, visit

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