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Leadership Today - Practical Tips For Leaders

Dec 15, 2023


Whether it’s working arrangements, a pay rise, contract terms with a client or project timelines with colleagues, we are all required to negotiate at some point. This week we explore ways to negotiate effectively.



Hello and welcome to episode 214 of the Leadership Today podcast where each week we share practical tips to improve your leadership. This week we explore ways to negotiate effectively.

Whether it’s working arrangements, a pay rise, contract terms with a client or project timelines with colleagues, we are all required to negotiate at some point. Understanding the fundamentals of negotiation can help to achieve a great outcome for you, while also seeking to build the relationship with the other person.

Before we work through some tips to help your negotiations, it’s important to understand position versus interest. People come to a negotiation with a particular position in mind. This is the stance they are taking and sharing openly with the other person. For example, a colleague might have a position that a particular project will take six weeks to deliver. Behind every position is a set of interests. Interests are the reasons behind the position. So your colleague’s position around the project taking six weeks to deliver could be based on interests such as not overworking their team, delivering other projects on time, or not wanting to over-promise a faster turnaround. As we negotiate it’s important to move past positions and towards interests. Being aware of interests provides much more flexibility for all parties in a negotiation.

Beyond that, there are several points to be aware of before and during a negotiation:

  1. Be clear about your goals and priorities. Entering a negotiation without being clear about what’s important to you and what you want is very risky. It’s helpful to write down what you want to achieve and why. Think about where you are willing to compromise and what’s not negotiable. Writing these down can be helpful.
  2. Research and gather information. Make sure you have facts, data and documentation ready to go. This will help you to make informed decisions, anticipate counter-arguments, and establish credibility in the negotiation.
  3. Work on your communication skills. Be confident, clear and concise when expressing your views. Also recognise that communication is two-way. Listen to the other person, ask questions, stay curious, and work towards uncovering their underlying interests. A respectful, empathetic and collaborative approach will help you to build rapport and avoid the negotiation becoming overly adversarial.
  4. Be open to compromise. Negotiation typically involves give and take. Sometimes we need to be flexible and creative in the pursuit of an outcome that will work for both parties.
  5. Know when to walk away. There will be times when you can’t reach an agreement that is adequate for you. Go into a negotiation knowing what alternatives you have available if you can’t reach an outcome. This will help you to know when you need to strategically disengage and explore other options.

Becoming more effective at negotiating takes time and preparation. Give these tips a try as you seek to increase your negotiation skills.



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