One of the core leadership traits that a business leader should demonstrate to achieve their mission is the ability to negotiate skillfully. Good leaders understand the true value of negotiation skills. Many workplace interactions may not seem like negotiations, but in reality, they are internal negotiations.
Your leadership status in an organization does not exempt you from being willing and prepared to negotiate. Whether you are a supervisor or a CEO, a good part of your time is spent implementing negotiation strategies.
Due to this, the company cannot go wrong by investing in their leaders’ abilities while negotiating. Most leaders negotiate by relying on instinct and experience.
Leaders who seek consistently superior commercial results, however, supplement their wit and experience by attending advanced negotiation seminars. These workshops provide leaders with invaluable negotiation training skills sets, strategies, and tactics that can be deployed in their workplace.
Being able to see the whole process of negotiation from different perspectives is essential for leaders. There are almost always negotiation skills to acquire that will better serve leaders in achieving their commercial outcomes.
Let’s discuss some of the most critical areas of negotiation skills that a leader should acquire and implement:
1. Building relationships
A leader is working with a team of people. In many workplaces, diversity is the keyword. Colleagues differ in their culture, style, and traditions. Team members can have differing work ethics and even encompass diametrically opposed personality types. A trained leader recognizes these qualities and puts them to use when the time comes to negotiate.
Another thing a leader should do is get to know each team member. Asking team members about themselves reveals a lot of information a leader may find helpful in negotiations.
At the same time, a leader should ensure to build a relationship between themselves and the team member. A pre-existing relationship eases the tension that surrounds negotiations and builds trust.
2. It’s not personal, it’s about preparation
In addition to building a rapport with team members, a leader must be prepared to manage conflict. Even people with whom the leader has a relationship may not always agree with a proposal. The leader needs to be able to back up the point with facts and figures. Make sure to keep this data handy. A good leader doesn’t fumble around, muttering about the data. An effective leader influences the thinking of others by showing them where their information comes from.
3. Be ready to bargain
Once the facts and figures are on the table, there may still be some dissent. The task at hand could be something as simple as determining the work roster for the week ahead. A good leader doesn’t impose the timetable that is compiled on others.
Instead, bargaining is now encouraged. So, as a leader, you should think of alternative solutions that will satisfy team members but still achieve the end goal.
The characteristics of a leader who is a good negotiator include, but are not limited to:
Flexibility is the ability and willingness to change what you originally wanted but still solve a problem. With flexible leadership, anyone can close a deal or resolve a conflict in the office.
b. Negotiation Listening Skills
Good leaders train themselves to listen to what others are saying. Team members can present a different perspective. If the leader doesn’t listen, team members will feel the leader doesn’t take the opinions of others into account. As a result, they could become defensive or disengaged.
Patience is about being able to recognize that others’ views may differ, but they all deserve to be heard.
Even in the tensest situations, a leader who wants to negotiate must remain calm. Becoming over-emotional will derail the negotiation process, which is the last outcome anyone wants.
Resolving conflict between co-workers, conducting performance reviews, winning new business from a sales negotiation, achieving the best value from purchasing, and determining the way forward in a project have one thing in common. All these types of interactions rely upon the leader’s ability to negotiate skillfully.
Some who have studied leadership in action estimate that about 80 percent of a leader’s time is spent using a negotiation strategy. Leaders may struggle with negotiation at first, which is why experts in the field of management recommend more advanced negotiation training workshops.