“Let us never negotiate out of fear. But let us never fear to negotiate.”
– John F. Kennedy
Any skill that brings peace and understanding to situations of conflict is invaluable to an organization. Negotiation is such a skill.
While society preaches the concept of a winner and a loser, effective negotiation seeks a win-win outcome that benefits every individual involved. In order to attain this ideal, one must make a conscious effort to sit on both sides of the table and determine how each party can be served for the best possible solution.
Negotiation must be practiced and developed with this scope in order to facilitate agreements in the workplace despite contrasting goals and agendas. Here are some practical components of negotiation to keep in mind:
Before you even begin to strategize or draw conclusions on the situation at hand, it’s critical that you gather unbiased information regarding each party involved. This allows a negotiator to see through a clear lens and uncover underlying factors that may not be visible at first glance.
Form Conclusions, Not Reactions
With the information gathered and knowledge acquired from that process, one can consider the possible conclusions based off of concrete information instead of reacting in the heat of the moment in an attempt to reach agreement.
Every person has a set of beliefs and values that shape our perceptions of the world and influence how we draw conclusions. By identifying our own assumptions and actively challenging them, we purify the negotiation process and leave our personal bias at the door.
As previously mentioned, the goal of every negotiation is a win-win agreement. If both parties are not winning, then it’s a loss for everyone. In order to achieve this, one must clearly understand others’ needs and interests instead of focusing on the “what’s in it for me” mentality.
Leave Ego Behind
The key to every effective negotiation is to remove ego from the table. Instead of being swept up in a position of power at others’ expense, keep your vision focused on the end goal. Replace “I” statements with “we” statements and engage the other parties involved by valuing their goal. This enables you to accomplish an even better deal that serves both sides of the table.
Unite Through a Common Vision
One of the biggest obstacles that we commonly face in conflict is an unintentional loss of perspective. This leaves us trapped with individualistic visions—that winning mentality, or feeling the need to be “right.” The most effective key to moving beyond this mindset is to find unity on something else—to remember organizational values, departmental goals, or the ultimate targets for your project. This takes our eyes off the conflict and unites them onto something greater.
By following these guidelines for negotiation, a sweeter success is attained by modeling servant leadership instead of practicing egotistical dominance over others. Finding common ground and witnessing how differing viewpoints can serve one another becomes a powerful example of how beneficial negotiation can be when conducted with a win-win attitude.
Anyone can walk in and undermine their opponent, but it takes skill and exceptional leadership to bring everyone to greater success through the negotiation table. It is this tactic that transforms situations filled with chaos and adversity to a state of resolution and peace.