Something Sage: Do You Know Your Hot Buttons?

Sep 02

When was the last time you found yourself in a situation where someone or something aggravated and frustrated you to the point where, despite knowing better, you instigated a conflict?

 This has happened to all of us at one time in the workplace, at home or at social gatherings.  Our hot buttons are characteristics or situations that aggravate, frustrate and provoke us into lashing out and engaging in conflict even though we know better.

Some of us get upset when we encounter untrustworthy behaviors; for others, it might be encountering people who are self-centered. Giving in to your frustration and engaging the button pusher leaves you feeling angry, demoralized, anxious and powerless. Creativity and productivity are impacted, as well as your physical and emotional well-being. When our buttons are pushed, we are less likely to resolve disagreements constructively and are more inclined to engage in behavior that is destructive.

By learning what situations and characteristics lead to your being most upset and understanding when and how you are provoked, you can develop better reactions to the button pusher and confront conflict more effectively. Cooling down your reactions lets you take the button pusher’s perspective and better assess their motivation.  Identifying and understanding what triggers you and designing new ways to react in those moments will reduce the negative emotions, help you better control your reactions, and allow you to exert influence over the situation and not be caught off guard. Identifying your hot buttons is only the first step. Making behavioral changes requires changing your characteristic reactions and new tactics and interpreting situations in different ways.

The Conflict Dynamics Profile (CDP) contains a section dealing with Hot Buttons. A portion of the assessment tool that helps you to identify your Hot Buttons is online, so you could try it out. The Hot Buttons are only one part of the larger assessment that deals with conflict behaviors and organizational perspectives on conflict.   As an executive coach, I use The Conflicts Dynamics Profile (CDP) both in my group and individual coaching work to help leaders become conflict competent. Working with the (CDP) feedback and coaching either in an individual or group session enables my clients to understand what drives their responses and develop practical recommendations for dealing more effectively not only with their hot buttons but workplace conflict as well.

I invite you to learn more about your hot buttons by taking the portion available on-line by following this link or reaching out to me either in the comments field below or via email to