Join Craig Runde for an in-depth discussion in this video Recognizing your hot buttons, part of Improving Your Conflict Competence.
- What are your conflict hot buttons? Hot buttons are behaviors in others that can upset or irritate you when you encounter them. It's important to be aware of what triggers your emotions so that you don't get caught off guard. In this video, we'll examine the nature of hot buttons, discuss how you can be more aware of your hot buttons, and look at how to lessen the intensity of them when they occur. Our first step is to understand conflict hot buttons which are also called triggers.
Do you ever experience irritation or get upset when you deal with someone who acts in certain ways? if you're like most people, you've probably had your buttons pushed. While it may be the other person's action that served as the stimulus, it's actually our reaction that is the focus of the hot button. People can have very different hot buttons. For example, some people get upset when someone is unreliable and doesn't come to meetings on time.
When a person arrives late, some people in the room feel upset about this and others may not be bothered at all. Some may not mind unreliable people but get upset when they encounter someone who is unappreciative, untrustworthy, or hostile. The hot button usually is based on the values of the person who feels irritated. So if you believe that it's important to show up on time to events and someone else is late, it's easier to get upset. if that value isn't important for you, then you may not mind.
People get upset when their hot buttons are pushed and that can cause them to use destructive behaviors that can escalate the conflict. There's nothing wrong with approaching the other person about being on time to meetings, but the key is to not let the irritation caused by your hot button lead you to react in a destructive and ineffective way. It's important to recognize the hot button and deal with it first. The second step is to be more aware of what triggers you, what pushes your hot buttons.
It's different for everyone. Take a moment and think about the kinds of behaviors that you dislike. These will likely be your hot buttons. You can also use an assessment instrument to measure your hot buttons. I like the conflict dynamics profile assessment which has a specific section on conflict hot buttons. In the exercise files that come with this course, I'll provide you with a link to a free version of the hot button test that you can use to get a better understanding of your hot buttons. After you take the test, you can make a note of your hot buttons in the exercise files.
The third step is discovering how to lessen the intensity of your hot buttons. It's unlikely that you'll ever be completely free of hot buttons but you can learn to decrease their hold on you. Just by learning what your hot buttons are, you can take away some of the surprise that can catch you off guard. This alone will help. By reflecting on why your hot buttons are hot for you, you can further your understanding and lessen their mystery. The next time you begin to feel upset with someone, you'll be more aware that it could be a hot button being pushed.
At that point, remind yourself, "This is just a hot button." You may not like the behavior but you don't have to become upset. You can address the person's behavior if necessary, but you don't have to become angry or upset when you do it. Understanding your conflict hot buttons is the first step in being able to manage your conflict emotions more effectively. When you're able to deal with your emotions, they're less likely to drive you to do things you may later regret.