As a negotiator you can choose to be cooperative or competitive. Making the right choice can be the difference between building relationships and value, and destroying relationships and value. When you next receive demands from work colleagues to make their issues your priority, try to understand the impact your styles choices will have and to consider some of strategies that will help to motivate cooperation.
So how do skilled negotiators protect their interests and maintain an ongoing relationship?
Firstly they have the situational awareness to know that how they respond will have a direct impact on how the other person responds.
Secondly they avoid damaging ongoing relationships by modelling cooperative behaviours. This is because demonstrating patience and understanding, and discussing options, increases the other person’s feelings of a win/win outcome, which in turn makes them feel more empowered and motivated to contribute to the discussions. In contrast, modelling competitive behaviours that include imposing solutions, impatience and judgement, increases the risk that the other person will view the outcome as a win/lose, and by doing so, feel vulnerable, become angry and frustrated, and focus on their next best alternative.
Thirdly skilled negotiators build strong alternatives that enable them to walk away if their cooperation continues to be exploited by the other party.
- Reward behaviours you want repeated and place consequences on behaviours you want to change
- Remember people leave discussions with feelings ahead of facts
- Start from the other party’s perspective, to demonstrate empathy and encourage participation
- Build on the common ground that brings you together
- Agree on a negotiation process, which includes objective criteria and, if required, behaviour protocols