Know Your Hot Buttons

Posted by on May 13, 2013

Know Your Hot Buttons

Warning: Your hot buttons can be dangerous to your health.

To quote from our CEO Bob Rosen’s new book, Grounded:

“Feelings such as fear, anger, greed, envy, pessimism, frustration and shame can sap your energy and distract you from consciously engaging those around you and from focusing on what’s truly important. Negative emotions are notorious for hijacking the feelings that make you healthy.”

Let’s look at one emotion – Anger.

Conflict is a daily ingredient in the normal work day. It’s easy to jump into dangerous territory quickly with this emotion. Anger is just one letter short of danger.

As human beings, we all have emotional and physical reactions to conflict. Anger is the dominant response because of our built-in fight-flight reactions. The fight response looks like: you feel a surge of adrenaline, your heart starts to race, you take an aggressive posture. On the other hand, the flight response looks like: you start to withdraw, you begin looking for ways to escape. Both of these reactions take a physical toll on your body.

Don’t let others push your buttons.

You’ve been here before … the meeting where a sudden angry retort changes the conversation to an argument; or you watch as people slowly shut down and disengage in a meeting to avoid dealing with the angry person. How do you respond to other people’s anger? How do you respond when people push your hot buttons? Do you even know your hot buttons?

Being real comfortable and clear about your own responses to anger is very important. Because anxiety and uncertainty go hand in hand. If you are not certain about your own responses to tense situations, you’ll make yourself more anxious. And too much anxiety has negative effects on your physical health.

Your physical health.

Being physically healthy is vital to your role as a leader. Not just the absence of disease but the presence of health. Robust physical health is essential in your leadership role as you deal with the fierce pace of change. Healthy leaders mitigate the impact of stress, anger and anxiety by…


  • being very SELF-aware of their own hot buttons and responses to anger. They understand how to manage physical reactions to conflict and stop negative emotions from derailing them from being emotionally and physically healthy.
  • minimizing time spent in anger. They turn quickly to problem-solving. When somebody pushes your hot button, it’s natural to feel irritated or annoyed. Rather than let the other person “get under your skin” you see it as a time and energy waster and focus on the problem to be resolved.
  • controling their fight-flight responses. Rather than get caught up in the moment, floundering around looking for ways to respond they rely on their conflict management skills and move more quickly to problem-solving.
  • putting daily annoyances in perspective. Healthy leaders understand, given the pace and stress of work these days, that it is easy for tension, disagreement and emotionality to appear, sometimes out of nowhere. It’s part of the job.

How is your Physical Health? Find out by taking the Healthy Leader Assessment.

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Discussion for your next staff meeting

Forward this email to your staff or colleagues and use it as a discussion item at your next staff meeting. Some talking points…

1) What are your hot buttons? Make a list and ask a trusted colleague to compare notes.

2) What are your hot buttons? Make a list and ask a trusted colleague to compare notes.

Check Yourself

Change in the Fast LaneBeing anxious is your body and brain telling you “things have changed,” moving you out of your comfort zone.(Read More)

How is your Physical Health?

Find out by taking the Healthy Leader assessment.(Read More)
Healthy Companies
GroundedLeadership is harder than ever. The speed and complexity of an unrelenting marketplace require you to continually reinvent yourself to stay on top of your job. This book will help you do just that.Coming in the Fall of 2013.



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