Turn challenge into opportunity – the power of negotiation30 May 2017
As you manage employees and lead a team, some level of conflict is inevitable. An important skill to cope with these situations is negotiation. Good negotiation skills can not only solve problems but help everyone involved get more out of the situation. How can you use your negotiation style to help all parties achieve what they want?
Different aims don't necessarily mean your goals are mutually exclusive.
Work together towards a common goal
Conflict often comes from two parties wanting different things, and pitting those two outcomes against each other. But different goals don't necessarily mean your desired outcomes are mutually exclusive. Negotiation is a collaboration, not a battle. Writing for Forbes, negotiation coach and researcher Tanya Tarr suggests that a way to steer conflict towards a mutually beneficial solution is to ask the question "how could we solve the problem together?" – this starts a discussion that focuses on sharing a happy resolution rather than each party clawing their rewards away from the other. Changing the tone of the discussion changes the possible outcomes.
Successful negotiation is about getting what you want, but it's also about agreement. If one party comes out of negotiation unhappy with the outcome, then the conflict is likely to resurface again. The trick to resolving conflict is to make sure everyone involved has come out better off. As Eric Frazier writes for Business.com, collaborative win-win negotiation relies on finding a solution that gives each party a benefit without costing them more than they're willing to give.
Balance what you give with what you get
It's important to aim for a win-win solution, where you give value as well as receive it. But the Kellogg School of Management warns that this attitude can make you work against your own interests if you take it too far. Your desire to create value for the other party overshadows your need to get something valuable out of the negotiation yourself, and you wind up giving away more than you should to keep them happy.
To make sure you balance what you give with what you get, be careful about how much information you share during negotiation. Too little makes it hard to reach a settlement, but too much puts you in a weak bargaining position.
Negotiation is a nuanced, complicated skill, and great managers understand the subtle bargaining needed to make sure every conflict ends well for all involved. You can develop negotiation skills through practice, but for in-depth guidance and advice, ICML offers negotiation skills training courses that focus on more effective negotiation skills. Get in touch to find out more today.