“Good leadership negotiates with power, against power, while protecting the people in its power base.” -Greg Williams, The Master Negotiator & Body Language Expert (click to Tweet)
“New Leadership Advice – How To Avoid
Negotiation Power Loss And Win More”
People don’t realize they’re always negotiating.
As someone in leadership, do you understand the sources of your power during a negotiation? You’re always negotiating, and negotiation power is critical to the success of your leadership.
In any negotiation, there is always a risk of leaders in leadership losing ground. But there are several ways those in leadership can avoid power losses in negotiations.
In this article, I highlight four strategies leaders can employ to avoid their negotiation power loss and achieve more favorable negotiation outcomes.
Know When To Make The First Offer Or Not
In leadership, making the first offer can be a powerful negotiation tactic. It allows a leader to set the tone for the negotiation and often influences the other party’s expectations. But knowing when to make the first offer or not is as important as knowing how to make it.
One of the reasons why it is essential to know when to make the first offer is that it establishes the negotiation’s starting point. And leaders can enhance their power and leadership position if they make a precisely-timed first offer. Why?
Because the first offer can also establish the credibility of a leader’s leadership, trustworthiness, and credibility; someone in leadership only has power to the degree that others grant them power, regardless of their status related to the leader. That is why the first offer can be very potent. It brands the leader with positional power – power at that moment.
However, there are some circumstances when making the first offer can be a disadvantage for someone in leadership. Take the case when a leader is unaware of the most salient negotiation points. In such situations, making the first offer could expose leadership as being out of touch with reality. And that would hamper a leader from negotiating from a position of strength.
Generally, leadership needs to consider specific circumstances when making first offers. Such as the other party’s negotiating style, the amount of information available, and the importance of the negotiation are influential components of the decision. The key to success is to be strategic and thoughtful when making the first offer and to be prepared to adjust strategies quickly.
Consistency Commitment – Leadership’s Psychological Secret Weapon
Consistency commitment is a principle in psychology that suggests that people strongly desire to be consistent with their prior beliefs and behaviors. Those in leadership can apply this principle in negotiation to increase the likelihood that others will remain committed to an agreement.
One way leaders can use consistency commitment in negotiation is to establish early obligations or agreements that their negotiation opposite is likely to maintain. If a leader’s negotiation opposite desires a particular outcome or solution, the leader can use that as a starting point for negotiation and build on it.
Even better, the leader should make their opposite aware that they and the opposite are building on their desires. That will strengthen the opposite’s need for consistency and increase the likelihood that they will remain committed to the agreement due to their need to maintain consistency with their initial desire.
Strategic Ambiguity – Leadership’s Feigning Of Direction
Strategic ambiguity can be a powerful tool, allowing leadership to leverage the other negotiation participants’ desire for consistency and commitment. Its quest involves intentionally creating uncertainty or ambiguity around certain aspects of the talks. To execute this strategy, leadership may appear indecisive about their actions.
To foster this pretense further, leadership might intentionally use vague or ambiguous language when discussing certain aspects of the negotiation. By doing so, leadership can listen to the increasing desire of the opposition and adjust their position accordingly, avoiding making firm commitments until later in the negotiation.
Tone And Intonation – Leadership’s Communication Vehicle
How someone in leadership conveys their message during negotiation, tone, and intonation affects the reception of the message.
While tone will project the attitude or emotions of a leader, intonation confers meaning through the rising and lowing of their voice. Thus the words, “Hey! Stop! Don’t do that!” can be interpreted based on a word’s emphasis, low or deep tone. And that is important for someone in leadership to be mindful of.
Suffice it to say, during negotiation, while intonation and tone are both essential aspects of a leader’s speech, they are distinct concepts that refer to different facets of communication. Intonation refers specifically to the pitch patterns of speech, while tone refers to the overall attitude or emotion conveyed through speech. It behooves those in leadership to remember that.
Negotiation is a critical skill for anyone in a leadership position. Whether you’re negotiating with employees, suppliers, or clients, a leader’s ability to navigate the negotiation process can significantly impact their leadership success. However, negotiations are fraught with danger – it is not uncommon for leaders to lose negotiation power and come out with less than they had hoped for.
Hopefully, as someone in leadership, after consuming the information presented here, you now know how to prevent that from happening to you. Just recall and use the four aspects mentioned. And everything will be right with the world.
Remember, you’re always negotiating!
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