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This article was published 14-06-2018

Negotiation: The Underestimated Quality of Top Leaders

Everyone wants to be a good leader. It’s no wonder the internet, libraries and bookshops are overflowing with books and articles on successful leadership. Yet, one quality often goes overlooked: negotiation. Why are negotiation skills so critical for success?


Negotiating Unconsciously
Every day you’re faced with new choices and decisions. You’d probably be surprised how often you negotiate without even knowing you’re doing it. Often, negotiations take place on the basis of emotions and intuition, which doesn’t always lead to the best results. That’s why it’s time to become aware of the advantages of a strong set of negotiating skills. Because negotiating is something you can learn to do.

Winning Support and Commitment from Others
In the workplace, communication practically always focuses on achieving mutual understanding; for example, when solving a problem, agreeing on a goal or choosing the right plan of action. You communicate with all kinds of partners and stakeholders, both inside and outside your organization.

This means listening, handling disagreements with respect and being open to other people’s ideas. It also requires a healthy dose of empathy and the ability to search for creative solutions that everyone can feel good about. In other words: negotiation.

Aligning Different Interests
According to Harvard Professor Robert C. Bordone, developing strong negotiation and conflict management skills is crucial for effectively managing employees, stakeholders, partners and customers.

It makes sense: as a leader, just think how often you’re faced with the challenge of aligning different interests and ideas to achieve the best outcome. This is a never-ending process of give and take.

Influencing Your Surroundings
Expert negotiators are highly adept at influencing their surroundings. They do this by remaining transparent at all times and treating others with respect, which earns them the trust of those around them. With their positive, empathic attitude, they also build a strong goodwill factor and always keep their emotions under control, even in stressful or annoying situations.

Learning to Think Like a Negotiator
Learning to think like a negotiator starts with insight and oversight. That means you not only need a clear view of your own goals, but you must also know which of those goals to prioritize so you can reach the best outcome. It’s also just as important to know the priorities, concerns and ideas of the person on the other side of the negotiating table. This not only prepares you for each step of the negotiation, it also helps you find common ground. By emphasizing that everyone at the table just wants the best possible solution, you create a firm foundation for a negotiation where everyone can walk away feeling satisfied. 

Successful Leaders are Negotiators
Being a strong negotiator is an indispensable leadership quality. Yet, surprisingly, very few professionals are up to speed on scientific research and theories on negotiation techniques. As a result, they lack critical insights on how they can improve their own skills in this area.

You Can Learn to Negotiate
Anyone who thinks negotiation is a matter of intimidation, inflexibility and seeing who can beat on the table the loudest is sorely mistaken. If you think you can convince others by bullying and pressuring them, you’re setting yourself up for disappointment in the long term. You will never really gain another person’s support this way, and eventually it will start to show.

Negotiation is actually all about interpersonal relationships, problem-solving techniques and the ability to deal with difficult opponents and their interests. You must keep hold of the reins and ensure that the situation does not escalate out of control. It sounds difficult, but anyone can learn to do it.

Bringing Your Negotiation Skills to the Next Level
The Negotiation Skills Masterclass was developed by Professor Bordone and offers a unique chance to master the most effective negotiation skills during a three-day course. Bordone is a heavyweight in the field of negotiation. The founder of the Harvard Negotiation & Mediation Clinical Program, he also organizes the renowned Negotiation Workshop and has offered negotiation training to attorneys and employees at numerous major international organizations and government institutions.

The Negotiation Skills Masterclass prepares you to lead complex negotiations and teaches you a wide range of effective problem-solving techniques, enabling you to see eye to eye with even the toughest negotiation partners.

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