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There are nine conflict hot buttons that researchers have identified.

These are
listed below with some traits that someone might perceive. Remember, its when
we think someone is behaving this way that we feel our hot buttons are being
pressed, regardless if the button pusher actually believes theyre behaving this
The nine areas, and the possible traits, are:

Makes commitments but doesnt follow through

Cannot be counted on to get the work done

Procrastinates, misses deadlines, lacks organisation, late to meetings or

work shift

Doesnt take crises seriously

Makes decisions without consensus and support from the team.

Overly analytical

Focuses more on detail than the big picture

Gathers facts and analyses every possible outcome ? Methodically

deliberates pros and cons

Slow to make decisions

Keeps others waiting, resulting in unreasonable delays.


Fails to praise or reward effort

Doesnt offer encouragement

Believes others shouldnt be complimented for simply doing their job

Can be overly critical

Doesnt say thank you when it is common sense and good manners to
do so.


Isolated, detached and distant

Does not seek outside input

Is not open with others

Only uses formal communication

Delegates without guidance or feedback.


Continually checks up and monitors others work

Orchestrates every move

Verifies every calculation

Excessively anxious about deadlines, progress and budgets



Believe theyre always right

Thinks they know it all

Puts their needs first before those of others

Brags about themselves without acknowledging others

Insensitive to others needs.


Unpleasant interpersonal style

Lacks social skills

Interacts rudely or curtly


Insensitive to others

Sarcastic and disguises insults as humour or constructive criticism.


Exploitative, manipulative and dishonest

Uses other people for their own purposes



Undermines others and/or takes credit for others work

Withholds critical information.


Loses their temper ? Throws tantrums

Screams, swears and otherwise acts in angry and aggressive ways

Highly impatient and judgemental

Uses fear and power to intimidate others.

Which are your top one or two hot buttons? Most people have at least one or two
that really aggravate them. Very few people have none or all of them. You may
also find it interesting to note that 55 per cent of all workplace related conflict is
a direct result of people believing that others are, or could be, untrustworthy.
Self-coaching questions
Before a conflict arises:

Why is this button hot for me rather than cool?

When my hot button is pushed, how do I usually feel and respond?

The next time my hot button is pushed, how do I want to feel and

What environmental factors such as noise, heat, or crowds affect the

triggering of my hot buttons?

What have been the personal and professional consequences of

responding as I do to my hot buttons?

During a conflict:

What actions can I take to resolve this conflict?

What can I do to change how Im feeling in this moment?

If I treat people with sensitivity, fairness and respect, how might that
impact how Im feeling right now and the situation in general?

If I put myself in the other persons shoes for a moment, what do they
think theyre doing compared to what I believe theyre doing? How does
this change my approach to the situation?

I need to discuss this with the other personwhats the most constructive
way I can do that?

After a conflict:

What did I do well in addressing the hot button behaviour, including my

own reactions?

Did I make progress toward changing the button pushers behaviour?

What do I need to do differently next time?

If the conflict is still unresolved, is this due to my hot buttons? What am I

going to do about that?

What am I grateful for about this experience?