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FAILURE TO NEGOTIATE IS A SURE NO-WIN

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If you do nothing, the ball is always in the other person's court!  Are you giving up your ability to make a difference for yourself in the relationships in your life? The other evening I was teaching my 'How to Negotiate Anything with Anyone' seminar and talking about the five choices we have in any conflict situation: yield, collaborate, compromise, avoid, compete.  Each is a good strategy...sometimes!

Of course, it is wise to pick your battles.  Some things simply do not matter much to you.  Yielding is fine.  When your negotiating partner really cares about something and it's relatively immaterial to you.  Yield.  That's wise.  (By the way, if you find yourself wanting to win even in these situations, you may need to consider  counseling.  That's a sign that you missed something along the way and maturity is not on your side.)

Avoidance is another matter.  Where there is wisdom in avoidance is where the timing is very wrong or the person is your superior and your job is on the line.  If your negotiating partner is very upset, angry or out of control, this is not the time!  It does not mean that the conversation will be postponed indefinitely.  When emotions are high, negotiating will not likely be anything like rational.  A good time to practice avoidance.

Negotiating with your boss or supervisor requires more thought. Unless you want to be miserable forever, you will like not want to continue avoiding talking with him or her.  It does require good communication and negotiation
skills...and maximum preparation.

Not long ago, I came across an article that mentioned some research.  It said that, except for folks moving on to better positions or fields, 80% of people interviewed were leaving their jobs because of unexpressed, or unexpressed, interpersonal conflict!  That's huge.  It speaks to an entire working population with poor conflict management skills.  Stand out.  Be the person with the well-honed skills and life will be a much more rewarding and satisfying experience.

Compromise is over-rated.  It means that both people had to give up something that they really wanted.  Sure, there are incidents where this is appropriate.  You may do it because the other person is so important to you that you want them to have what they most want.  You take the loss magnanimously.  Usually, though, it is because you do not know how to negotiate.  And, usually, you are keeping score.  Be careful.  Do not use compromise as a substitute for negotiation.  Repeated use may be addicting
and will keep you angry.

Competition can be healthy.  It requires staying in shape to compete--physical, emotional, intellectual, social shape. And, comes with a caveat: You compete FOR things and positions, e.g. winner,  not WITH people. Don't you hate it when political candidates start taking swipes at folks, badmouthing them, pointing out their faults?  That is because they are competing with people rather than for issues.  That's why competition has a bad rep!

Competition has a huge drawback.  It is the most likely approach to destroy a relationship! It is based on satisfying our own concerns while ignoring the other's goals, needs or issues.  It jeopardizes any on-going
relationship possibilities.  It will end in a definite win-lose.  Useful in buying a new car, destructive with your life partner!

That leaves us with 'collaborate', the integrative approach.  It takes into consideration the needs, concerns, desires and wants of both parties and offers the most lasting, positive results.

In truth, it isn't what the other person wants but why they want it that is important.  When we take the time to hear the compelling reasons behind someone's request, it changes things. This is the beginning of
collaboration.  It requires excellent listening skills.  You're not just listening to the words, but to the feelings and thinking behind the words.

This is not a time to operate from assumptions.  In all negotiations, test for accuracy.  State what you have heard and ask if you have the information straight.  This demonstrates your willingness to communicate which is the basis for negotiation.

Unclear people with poorly thought-out positions, compete or avoid.  Wise folks collaborate.  It preserves and even  strengthens on-going relationships.

If you do not negotiate, you have made a decision in favor of the status quo.  That could be wise.  It could be foolish.  It could be that the thought of negotiation scares you rigid.  One thing is sure: failure to negotiate is a sure win-lose....and not in your favor!

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Rhoberta Shaler, PhD, is a peace catalyst.  She makes it easier to talk about difficult things. Founder of Sow Peace™ International, she focuses on empowering individuals, leaders and teams with solutions and skills that get to the heart of communication, conflict and conscious collaboration.  A popular keynote speaker, Dr. Shaler has shared her light-hearted approach and value-packed content with audiences, teams and readers for more than twenty-five years. Author of over two dozen books and audio programs, including her most recent books, Wrestling Rhinos: Conquering Conflict in the Wilds of Work and Soul Solitude: Taking Time for Our Souls to Catch Up, Dr. Shaler teaches people to express themselves in ways that are totally kind and totally honest at the same time. That sows peace. Trained as a psychologist and professional mediator, she shares her insights through her blog and get your compimentary half-hour with Dr. Shaler there now, too!  http://SowPeace.com  

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