Negotiation skills are integral to a leader’s success. Especially in the ruthless corporate world, top leaders must possess this calculated prowess to charge ahead. Your leadership abilities are constantly under scrutiny, from negotiating a trade deal with a supplier to mediating a business rift. It may even be crucial to bargaining for a viable pay package while hiring a prospective employee, meaning you need to have sharp negotiating qualities.
If you foresee unhindered professional growth for yourself, do imbibe these negotiation skills to make your mark as a leader:
Always have a Plan B prepared:
Experienced leaders always have a fallback plan in case the original discussions don’t yield the desired results. In the world of corporate negotiations, BATNA (Best Alternative to a Negotiated Agreement) is crucial. Before attending a crucial meeting, spend sufficient time with your team compiling a BATNA in case the meet doesn’t work out as expected. This will put you in a position of advantage and automatically bolster your confidence during the negotiation. Needless to state, your opponents should not be privy to your plan B. Only then will you get the upper hand in negotiations.
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Negotiation skills warrant rapport-building:
Being assertive or aggressive is essential when required. But you cannot always rely on authoritativeness to get your way around always. Successful managers are good at building harmonious relations, wherein a bit of coaxing and persuasiveness can do the trick. As a leader, you need to strike a chord with critical stakeholders and use these rapport-building skills to your advantage.
Making the first move is not always wise:
Unless you are 100% sure that all odds are in your favour, making the first move is not recommended. A tactical leader will always wait for the other party to put forth their offer first. This puts you in a comparatively advantageous situation, and you can bargain better. If it is an extremely pliable deal that you are confident of getting, you can charge ahead first. Otherwise, it is wiser to wait and respond.
Be an attentive listener and observer:
This is an essential leadership skill that is important during negotiations and even otherwise. Being a leader doesn’t imply that you should only talk without being receptive to opposing viewpoints. When you cultivate good listening skills and pay attention to detail, you can easily determine your opponent’s weak point. This can be used to your advantage during the course of the discussion.
Don’t get emotionally swayed:
Being emotionally stable is an essential aspect of good negotiation skills. Emotional intelligence refers to traits such as self-restraint and social awareness in the situational context. If we take examples of real-life leaders, many sparring politicians of opposing political parties have cordial personal relations. They don’t let professional differences hamper their personal/social cordiality. Remaining in control of your emotions and being practical during a negotiation is the mark of a true leader.
Amicable resolution of disputes is a must:
There can be many instances when corporate affairs get murky. It could be a legal issue, a rift between two departments, or a contract breach by a service partner. A good leader should have the required negotiation skills to resolve disputes amicably. Whether it is within the company or with external stakeholders, brainstorming reasonable alternatives is essential. Aggressive conflict resolution and fire-fighting should be your last resort.
Two-way communication with your team:
As a leader, you need to have transparent communication with your core team before any important meeting. At the negotiation table, having the backing of your team is integral to your success. You need to have your figures correct and be on the same page as everyone on your team. Making contradictory statements vis-à-vis your team members reveals your weaknesses, which your opponents will pounce on.
As a Supervisor/Assistant Manager aiming for fast career progression, mastering the art of negotiation is crucial. Top-tier management positions require leaders that are assertive, resilient, confident, and bankable. To acquire/master these leadership traits (especially negotiation skills), seeking professional guidance from industry leaders can be of immense help. Most importantly, attending suitable Webinars, Training Podcasts, and E-Learning Modules can boost your climb up the corporate ladder!