The Art of Negotiation: An Essential Soft Skill for Leaders

The Art of Negotiation: An Essential Soft Skill for Leaders

The ability to negotiate is an essential soft skill for leaders. Most leaders’ workdays consist of one negotiation after another. Negotiations can be anything from lobbying for additional staff to finalizing a sales contract with a client. Effective negotiators’ goal should always be to find mutually agreeable solutions.

Compromise is a daily reality in business. The ability to find a middle ground is key to success for the leader, team, and business. Lack of compromise can halt business growth as either progress on the initiative stops or poor decisions are made. An effective leader knows how to maintain integrity within the business through the art of negotiation.

The good news is learning the art of negotiation is possible with proper training.

“The most important trip you may take in life is meeting people halfway.” – Henry Boye, author

Types of Negotiations

Negotiations happen when there are two or more best possible outcomes, but the parties involved have not yet come to an agreement that meets the needs of all involved. There is no way to guarantee success in every negotiation, but there are ways to have a better chance of reaching the ideal outcome, even if that outcome was not the original goal.

The two major types of negotiations are distributive and integrative.

Styles of Negotiators

The best negotiators can resolve disagreements more quickly and typically avoid arguments. There are many different styles of effective negotiation. Each negotiation style has its strengths and weaknesses but having a blended style or being able to switch styles is an art. A successful negotiator knows how to apply the most appropriate style to the situation at hand.

“A negotiator should observe everything. You must be part Sherlock Holmes, part Sigmund Freud.” – Victor Kiam, American entrepreneur and TV spokesman

Negotiation Tips

So many important factors go into strong negotiation skills. Let’s look at a few excellent ways to conduct business negotiations like a champ.

If the other party offers something lower than the reservation value, the team’s BATNA is the better course of action. If the team receives an offer higher than the reservation value, the team should accept the offer in most cases.

“Place a higher priority on discovering what a win looks like for the other person.” – Harvey Robbins, world-class speaker, author, and educator

Harvard Business School cites a study that found that making the first offer gives the negotiator a better chance to come out on top because they control the starting point of the bargaining range, giving themselves the advantage. It’s not always the best idea to accept the first offer. The other party second-guesses if they should have made a more aggressive offer, which might make them back out. Typically, people expect a counteroffer, so some back and forth will likely lead to both parties being satisfied and committed to the outcome.

HSI and HSI Blue Ocean Brain Can Help

Professional business negotiation training strengthens leaders, builds a strong workforce, and instills a culture of professionalism. As mentioned earlier, effective negotiation is a soft skill – an art that can be learned through training. Negotiation skills are one of the most important skills not only in leadership roles but in all employee roles.

HSI’s lessons teach learners how to negotiate skillfully in difficult situations. Employees can learn how to conduct a successful negotiation without damaging business relationships. Knowing how to become a negotiator who responds effectively to the reactions and positions of others is critical to success. They’ll also learn how to position views and disagreements appropriately to win support. Just as important, they’ll discover ways to convince others to take action.

Contact HSI to learn more about ensuring employees have access to soft skills training and the necessary tools that will allow them to negotiate more effectively. Here are some of our microlearning video-based lessons around this critical topic:

Working with HSI gives organizations access to a full library of business skills. HR departments can easily curate a curriculum for leaders who need to improve their negotiation skills. As an alternative, many of HSI’s clients open their HSI video-based training library to their employees for self-directed learning. Employees can choose off-the-shelf training video courses best suited to their unique needs.

HSI and HSI Blue Ocean Brain offer ground-breaking microlearning solutions to help companies of all sizes deliver award-winning content through flexible integration options to build high-performing learning cultures. Request a free trial of our HSI and HSI Blue Ocean Brain microlearning content.

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