Dec 30, 2005
Vol. 2, No. 52
Published Weekly on Fridays
By Leadership University
From the Founder – Mike R. Jay, Master Business Coach
Leadership: Pushing Your Own Buttons
A leader I’m working with asked me to explain what I
meant by “pushing my own buttons” and I thought it would
make a good piece for LeadU News as I write the final
edition for 2005. It’s often hard to believe how fast
the time goes each year.
First off, by using the question this leader asked me,
I’m modeling how to push your own buttons as a leader.
For one, I have a utilitarian worldview working with my
theoretical worldview, so it makes sense to take
something that I can do for one and do it for
many—that’s leverage, and is one of my buttons I can
push on my own.
What does pushing one’s buttons actually mean?
In order to keep this simple, but not too simple,
metaphorically we have what are often contextual systems
within us, both as memory and as programming. For
instance, in my case, the most and least effective
method for me in coping with conflict is being
competitive. On one hand, it’s efficient in situations
where competing is effective, such as when working in
conflict with competitors who would otherwise overrun
the system. On the other hand, it’s quite inefficient
and ineffective when the situation calls for
In other words, I have a lot of “systems” that are less
organic and more inorganic when they are triggered.
Argyris spoke about these types of systems as being a
script that runs when it is triggered, an inorganic
Each of us has these scripts, these operating systems,
these application programs that are basically configured
to deal with the emmense reality of our existence in a
productive, or at least in a manner to keep us fit
enough to reproduce…after that who knows why this stuff
is the way it is.
The key I’ve found is this: identify through
self-knowledge what these programs are and how they are
Secondly, once we understand these “systems” of
motivation, of development, function, instrumentation,
reciprocation (re-visit one of my earlier “news” on
http://www.dynamicengagement.com ), etc. we can then
consciously begin to “decide” to some extent when they
Finally, I suggest one learn to trigger their own
systems, which means we learn to push our own buttons.
In most cases, these scripts, or programs have formed
for a reason and when those programs, or scripts or
systems are triggered with “attention” rather than by
reaction, we often get high levels of satisfaction and
less problems because those system ultimately are
connected to who we are.
Why not be who we are on “purpose?”
Therefore, learn to push your own buttons, so they are
not pushed for you when it’s least likely advantageous
to you and others. At some point, I will write more
about this, of if you go to my blog and post comments,
I’ll feel obligated (reciprocity<G>) to say more.
I will say this before I leave you for this year.
For some reason, people have somehow or another through
what is probably our “puritan” ethics to believe that
it’s not acceptable to push our own buttons, or to run
our scripts on purpose. For some reason, I think people
might believe this is selfish or for some reason
inappropriate. So they continue to get their buttons
pushed by others at inopportune times. To me this is
silly, but then again that’s me, I’m not “traditional”
in worldview, and therefore this button gets pushed with
me if I put myself in rigid, or traditional settings.
Essentially, it’s self-knowledge first…then attention to
intention that produces capability that allows us to
remain in alignment with who we are. And finally,
In conclusion, I was visiting with a leader who was
having his people coached. I asked him why he wasn’t
being coached…trust me, as a leader, he didn’t have a
good answer. While you’ll be hard-pressed to find people
who want to be coached (which is the whole reason most
coaches starve)…a leader without a coach is leaving
themselves open to having their button pushed for them.
And with that, I’m cooked for 2005.
See you in 2006…and if you want a copy of my new book
being offered in a private reserve sale, there are a few
left before I go public in 2006.
Get your own autographed copy here:
Until then, Happy New Year
Mike R. Jay, Founder
P.S. Please visit Mike's public blog at
http://www.integraleader.com/ to comment on this and
other articles about leadership.
P.P.S. Mike's 'private', member-only blog is available
to those who wish to join, at their own risk: http://www.ontheprofessionaledge.com/founder
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