The Art Of Negotiation: Essential Skills For Leaders

Everyone negotiates

The art of the deal or the art of negotiation, whatever you call it, knowing how to negotiate is a critical skill for a leader. You’re always wheeling and dealing in a good way, trying to make things better for yourself and those you lead.

Don’t fret if you lack the skill of negotiation. Negotiation skills can be learned.

And, great for you, that’s exactly what we’re going to discuss in this article.

Man in a black suit with blue tie sitting at a wooden table. He has a coffee cup in one hand.

Photo by Andrew Neel on Unsplash

The Art Of Negotiation: Essential Skills For Leaders

Why is negotiation necessary? Every leader needs to know how to hold a strategic discussion between parties to resolve issues, whether it’s for a deal or to resolve conflict. Negotiation often ends in both parties finding the resolution acceptable.

Think about it… We all need to know how to negotiate

Some of the areas you may negotiate are:

  • Wages, whether that be yours or an incoming employee
  • A job offer
  • Budgets for your area
  • Contract details

That’s only the tip of the iceberg. There’s so much you can negotiate that honing this skill helps you in your organization and personal life. I didn’t even touch on the personal side of things, but you get the drift.

So, how do you improve your negotiation skills? Take a gander at these 4 tips.

How To Improve Your Negotiation Skills

1. Research ahead of time and be prepared:

Research and preparedness are your friends when it comes to negotiating. Knowing what the subject matter, industry, and party you’ll negotiate with will help you formulate a plan. 

As an example, if you’re negotiating a job offer to a candidate, you’ll want to know the average pay scale related to the position, clearly define the job responsibilities, and more. 

This gives you a clear starting point to negotiate duties, roles, and pay.

2. Identify mutual gains:

Every negotiation has points of interest to both parties. Identify these mutual gains to best negotiate in any situation.

You may notice that your negotiating partner desires for a quick turnaround of the product. You’re excited about this because a fast turnaround means you get paid quickly and you don’t have product sitting in a warehouse collecting dust.

Mutual gains are the key to finding the best result from a negotiation.

3. Keep the long-term in mind:

Many people think short-term when they negotiate. They desire immediate results. But what if you took the long game?

Think long-term. 

You want a good working relationship with vendors. This is one of the reasons to seek out win-win resolutions instead of win-lose. You have a happy vendor and they’ll keep you happy. 

Or think about hiring a new employee. There are many who think hiring the cheapest talent will be most beneficial for their organization. That’s not us! We understand that pay is one of the things that can make an employee happy. Be fair in your starting salary and you’ll be able to keep an employee around for a lot longer than if you low-ball them.

Long-term thinking in negotiations helps both parties. It provides stability, fairness, and a long-term partnership.

4. Evaluate your mistakes:

No one has a perfect record when it comes to negotiating. You’re going to make mistakes. It’s crucial you learn from those mistakes.

After every negotiation, go to the whiteboard. Write out the positives and negatives. Include the mistakes and missteps you made during the meeting.

Walk yourself through what could be done differently. Learn from it, and don’t make the same mistakes again!

Don’t Stop Negotiating

You’re never going to stop negotiating. Whether this is in personal relationships or the business dealings you partake in every day. Learn from your mistakes to negotiate better. Look for win-win, mutually beneficial endings. Do your research. Keep the long-term in mind.

The more you do this, the better you’ll be the next time you have to negotiate.

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