Conflict is a natural part of life and those who handle conflict well are going to do better than others. There should be a distinction between conflict and unethical behavior which perpetuates conflict when improper information doesn’t lead to a more steadfast middle ground. The book Negotiating Success by Jim Hornickel delves into successful negotiating tactics that dissolve conflict and build report.
All conflict should be based in RESPECT that add to positive possibilities. At times it is not possible to get both sides to act in truthful and a respectful manner. This may be the time to end the negotiations, lead them down a new path, or ensure that the greatest benefit is the most likely outcome.
Responsiveness: Negotiations entail a series of exchanges and being responsive to those exchanges while not losing sight of the bigger outcome is important. When communication is one sided it means that only one side is exchanging information which leads to a slant on the truth that seeks to create a zero sum game. Responsiveness should be in terms of win-win versus winner take all.
Empathy: Negotiations require the ability to understand the other, their motivations, and their feelings. The more you understand other people and their needs the better the negotiation process will be. Those who lack empathy will seek to win at all costs which creates a destructive game.
Service: Mutuality based negotiation means that one is being of service to both their and the other side. Successful negotiations attempts to understand the needs of others and find a way they can fulfill their needs as well as yours. This requires a mentality of service that knows how to find common ground between needs.
Perspectives: Perspective is point of view. Understand your own point of view, the other party’s point of view, and the wider point of view leads to awareness. Understanding each other’s perspective can make it easier to find common areas of interest. Without this understanding a blindness of battle occurs.
Esteem: Esteem is related to self-esteem. If you are negotiating with an opponent with low self-esteem they will create very testy interactions, fail to grasp the bigger picture, and focus on very small wins. In life, we learn this lesson when dealing with others who must win at all costs even when that damages themselves. Sometimes it is beneficial to let them earn little wins if they are not mentally capable of seeing how those wins lead to a positive outcome for everyone.
Courage: Courage is the mastery of discomfort and the ability to create win-win situations even when other stakeholders don’t see the possibility. Courage is required to move to higher levels of understanding and make things happen even when no one else seems to understand the bigger picture. Sometimes you may need to go it alone and this takes great courage.
Truth-Telling: Courage and truth are similar. Without truth you cannot build trust and the avoidance of truth will lead to lying, deception, misrepresentation and nondisclosure. A lack of truth will lead each side to stick tightly to their positions due to a lack of trust making middle ground impossible. The more people are convinced of the wrongness of the other the more they will refuse to budge their positions.
We often view proper negotiations as yelling, screaming, pointing, and fighting. It is a macho game where one must dominate another. The book teaches us this is a fool’s game if both sides lose. Negotiations is about wisdom and finesse. It may be beneficial to draw a line but an unyielding line without an alternative path creates conflict. The book helps us understand productive negotiations from the perspective of a master negotiator.
Hornickel, J. (2014). Negotiation Success. New Jersey; John Wiley & Sons