Deal Breakers and Hot Buttons

Posted by Kristin Baird

All of us need 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 healthcare 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?

What are Deal Breakers?

For me, deal breakers are issues of integrity and behaviors that erode the team – like gossip.

When leaders clarify the behaviors they want to see, they are able to see where their team members fall. From there, they can plan coaching conversations related to these specific behaviors. The other benefit of this exercise is that it helps set clearer expectations.

Hot buttons are another story. I define “hot buttons” as something that causes a swift, emotionally charged response, usually negative. While hot buttons may not be deal-breakers, when pushed, they cause annoyance and even downright exasperation. 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.

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

  1. Leaders—What are your deal breakers and hot buttons?
  2. How NOT to Talk to a Disengaged Employee
  3. Clear Expectations vs Mindreading
  4. What Traditions Define You?
  5. Is Wait Time a Deal Breaker in the Patient Experience?
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