Negotiation: A Compromising Position

Negotiating is a hot topic these days for a good reason. It is difficult to imagine a more vital managerial skill than the skill of negotiating. Effective managers must be superior negotiators. Without solid negotiating abilities, managers will inevitably make serious mistakes in dealing with people at all levels, both inside and outside their organizations. As negotiators, managers must concern themselves with substantive issues and their continuing relationships with people. If they push too much, they may create hard feelings and a desire to exact revenge. If they are overly concerned about getting along with others, they may lose in many substantive areas, thereby negatively impacting upon their department and their organization.

Successful negotiating involves trading-off between getting along with people and getting what you want. All negotiators face this dilemma: "How can I get what I really desire and yet maintain a friendly relationship with the other side?" Those who can achieve these seemingly contradictory objectives have mastered the art of negotiating. Negotiation is a discussion between two or more people with the goal of reaching an amicable agreement on issues separating the parties when neither side has the power nor the desire to use its power to get its own way.

Collaborating is one of several problem-solving approaches, however collaborating looks for a workable solution and even-handedly explores the needs of the parties until they are reasonably satisfied. Its advantages are that both sides can win big and collectively find solutions, ideas, and outcomes that go beyond the scope of the individual parties involved. Personal relationships can improve rather than deteriorate. Its pitfalls are that it can be extremely time-consuming, and that negotiators with a forcing style may interpret this approach as weakness.

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CEO, A.E. Schwartz & Associates, Boston, MA., a comprehensive organization which offers over 40 skills based management training programs. Mr. Schwartz conducts over 150 programs annually for clients in industry, research, technology, government, Fortune 100/500 companies, and nonprofit organizations worldwide. He is often found at conferences as a key note presenter and/or facilitator. His style is fast-paced, participatory, practical, and humorous. He has authored over 65 books and products, and taught/lectured at over a dozen colleges and universities throughout the United States.

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