Rules For Managers To Improve Negotiating Outcomes

insights Oct 31, 2022

If it’s the media’s job to evoke emotional responses to drive attention and reaction, it’s the manager’s job to respond with calm communication to steady the boat in the face of conflict.

One way you can approach conflict as a manager is through the lens of negotiation.

Not all conversations are negotiations, but understanding the timing and positioning to take when fielding concerns about whatever last night’s news brought (supply chain issues, RTO, the Great Reshuffling, social pressures, inflation, economic concerns, etc ), will help you build your relationship with skilled negotiating.

There are some great books about the art of making the most out of a deal or barter, but that’s not what we’re talking about here.

Most cases of negotiation result in a ‘‘Something-Something’ outcome, where neither party feels fully satisfied. 

Want to learn how skilled negotiating differs from unskilled or overskilled negotiating as well as the 3 Negotiating Red Flags? Read the full blog here

Our goal for managers is to create Win-Wins, so both parties can walk away feeling good. If you practice skilled negotiating, you’ll end up with a positive outcome and gain trust in the process.

First, notice how the level of a manager’s negotiating skill affects communication:

Skilled Negotiating (Trust Building Method) 

  • Can settle differences with minimal noise
  • Can win concessions without damaging relationships
  • Can be both direct and forceful as well as diplomatic
  • Gains trust quickly of other parties to the negotiations
  • Has a good sense of timing

Unskilled Negotiating (Insecure Method)

  • Not a good deal maker; doesn’t come away with much
  • May have to win every battle OR gives away too much to get the agreement
  • Poor listener 

Over skilled Negotiating (Power Trip Method)

  • May walk over people’s feelings
  • May hang on to a position too long
  • May become overly accommodating and be reluctant to walk away

If we look at the 6 Rules for Effective Negotiations, you’ll see they all give you an opportunity to build trust.

Use your mental performance skills to speak slowly, pause, and clarify throughout the conversation.

If you feel yourself getting flustered, it is better to walk away and re-visit after a timeout.

The Three Red Flags you must watch out for with your responses:

  • Blaming
  • Complaining
  • Defensiveness

By avoiding these three reactions and focusing on our 6 Rules for Effective Negotiations, tense conversations can become a trust building exercise.

Being a manager isn’t easy. It can often be a lonely place as you role model the behaviors and standards you want for your team. Receive support and feedback from other managers by attending our biweekly 1,000 Seconds podcast to ask additional questions about skilled negotiating.

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