Got Hot Buttons? It's Time to Turn Down the Heat

Sunday, 29 November 2015 17:04
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Getting our hot buttons pressed can spark impulsive decision making. Not good.


Each of us has hot buttons. I know mine. What sets you off? Are you sufficiently self-aware that you recognize the cues that can cause you to act impulsively rather than thoughtfully?

Curious to learn more? Read on, dear friends...

Got Hot Buttons?

It's Time to Turn Down the Heat

When our hot buttons get pressed, we typically respond by acting impulsively in what Psychology Today describes as a regression to a child-like state. As this might suggest, hot button reactions include irritation, frustration and anger with others and acting highly emotionally rather than rationally. Our reactions to hot button pressing can lead to poor decision making and spark conflicts with others, some of which may not be easily (if ever) positively resolved. Not good if we are dependent upon clear headedness and healthy relationships in our personal and professional lives.

While different people have different triggers, there are some common ones. I am getting better at recognizing my hot buttons as they are being pressed, though I readily admit that I still have considerable work to do before I can proclaim success in consistently and effectively managing my reactions.

One very common hot button is missing deadlines. Most people I know (including myself) get irritated if someone doesn't deliver against their commitments in a timely manner. This behavior can not only be disquieting, it can also jeopardize projects and damage credibility.

As we all know, there can be any number of reasons (or excuses) why someone may not hit a deadline. And trust me, I've heard plenty of them. Still, it's how we deal with the offending behavior that matters and will help shape our relationships go forward.

Regardless of the reasons for another's irritating behavior, we have choices that we can make in response. Emotion-fueled reactions can include tirades and all manner of passive-aggressive behaviors. In my dealings with small business owners and entrepreneurs who consistently miss deadlines, rather than rant, I will typically confront them and discuss their behavior (and its negative effects on what they are hoping to achieve as well as our relationship) in order to achieve a shared understanding. After this discussion, I can choose whether I value the relationship sufficiently to tolerate this behavior, regardless of its causes.

What are some common hot buttons, and how can we deal with them more effectively? According to Michigan Health Systems, these are some common hot buttons that others may press:

* Misses deadlines

* Does not share information with team members

* Thinks he or she knows it all

* Takes things into his or her own hands without consulting others

* Cannot be counted on to get work done

* Does not work with the team

* Only thinks about his or her needs or interests

* Will not make changes to products when asked to

* Takes credit for someone else's work or doesn't acknowledge the work of another

* Refers to a group of people or an individual in a derogatory way

* Doesn't listen to me

* Does not seek input from others

* Does not participate in meetings

* Doesn't follow instructions

To deal more effectively with hot buttons, it helps to recognize them and accept that if we allow them to continue to vex us, they can have negative impact on us and our well being and our relationships with others. Once we focus on the hot button, we should then try to discern whether the trigger and our reaction is unique to a specific individual, or if we act the same way in response to anyone who behaves similarly towards us. Then, we should consider why this behavior causes us to feel and behave the way we do and what we might do differently to help alter our feelings (and or the behaviors). This type of introspection can help us to diffuse negative emotions and thoughts and enable us to develop strategies to address these occurrences. (Tip: we shouldn't assume that the other party always knows that they are pressing our hot button. So, always seek first to understand before reacting...I didn't say that this will be easy!).

We get to choose how to react to our hot buttons as they're being pressed. Checking our impulses and making more thoughtful choices should lead to better outcomes and healthier relationships as well as diminished stress. These benefits should make the effort worthwhile.

"Connecting You With The Right Solutions" BFS Innovations, Inc.

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