I’ve come to believe over the years that one of the great leadership traits is the ability to negotiate. But once and a while I’m struck, and recently more often, about people’s capacity to know when to negotiate and when not to negotiate. Great leaders know that not negotiating is sometimes a strength.
Proactive leaders understand when to negotiate and when not to negotiate. There’s a sense out there that everything is negotiable, but the truth of the matter is not everything is negotiable. Not everything is a question of agreeing on an issue together.
1. Don’t be afraid NOT to Negotiate: How often have you found yourself wondering if you should tell someone what do instead of negotiating with them? In the workplace, sometimes you need to use the authority structure in order to tell people what to do.
How often have you told yourself I don’t need to start the negotiation dialogue? You think: “I can just go around this person, so why bother?” Sometimes you negotiate for its own sake and you begin to feel that the whole process is a token process….
Before you go any further in preparation for negotiations ask yourself whether the situation really merits negotiations. Sometimes understanding the issue may make you decide to not negotiate at all. Choose to negotiate wisely. The decision to negotiating is in itself a tactical decision.
2. Negotiations Create Organizational Frankensteins: When you negotiate with someone you let them know they have some power. They have something you want. By negotiating with someone you are actually empowering them. So ask yourself: do you really want to empower the other party?
You may have been in a situation where you negotiate with someone just to be polite and suddenly they feel empowered and you feel like you’ve created a Frankenstein. Negotiation for it’s own sake creates organizational Frankensteins.
3. Negotiation Takes Time: It’s obvious. Talking problems out burns through time, money, resources, and energy. Make sure you can afford to negotiate.
Don’t make the mistake of negotiating simply to look good or to appear to be participatory and inclusive. Proactive negotiators know when to and when not to negotiations.
Proactive leaders understand that negotiations for there own sake can be a disaster.