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Leaders—What are your deal breakers and hot buttons?

Posted by Kristin Baird on June 26th, 2015 • No Comments »

It’s important for all of us to be in touch with our core values. But leaders in particular need to be crystal clear about what they define as deal breakers in their working relationships. When I am coaching leaders, one of the exercises I have them do is to make a list of what they see as “deal breakers” with employees. In other words, what are the things that would cause them to question the employee’s fit with the department or organization. It’s important to get clear about the behaviors and think through specific examples. The next step is to articulate the exact opposite. What behaviors do you want to see?

By having leaders clarify these two polar opposites, they are able to start seeing where their team members fall and how they need to plan for coaching conversations related to the behaviors.

Hot buttons are another story. While they may not be the deal breakers, they can cause irritation. It’s important to recognize your hot buttons too. By being in touch with things that irritate you, it’s easier to control, or at least, curb your reaction when the button is pushed.

One of my hot buttons is when people are resistant to change. That was an important discovery for me since most people resist change either overtly or covertly. In one case, I learned that with one co-worker, I needed to step back and just let her sit with the request. She was a person who needed time to process while I was expecting immediate acceptance. By recognizing my hot button and her personal style, I’ve been able to create a more positive working relationship.

Take time to identify your deal breakers and hot buttons. You’ll be a better leader and team player for it.

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Baird Consulting


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