Negotiation Strategies in the Workplace

Instructor: Allison Tanner
This lesson discusses the five types of negotiation strategies. It then discusses effective negotiation and provides several tactics for negotiating effectively in the workplace.

Negotiation Strategies

Megan wants a raise, and John wants Mark to complete his work on time. Issues like these can begin to cultivate conflict in the workplace. But no worries, Negotiation Man (N.M.) is ready to fly in and create a winning solution!

Negotiation is the use of a specific and purposeful form of communication between two or more people in order to resolve conflicts. To better understand the subject, N.M. quickly draws a negotiation matrix to show that there are five common forms of negotiation which can be used by employees and employers.

Negotiation Strategies
negotiation strat

The matrix shows that the strategies at the top are the most assertive, and the strategies on the right side are cooperative. This means that top left corner is competing, which is assertive but not cooperative. In this situation, one person fights to win until the other person loses. In the bottom left corner, avoiding means there is low assertion, and one person shies away from conflict and the other person wins by default. Accommodating is highly collaborative but low in assertion. This means that someone is willing to sacrifice in order to let the other person win. In the center is compromise, which means that both people win a little and lose a little. In the top right corner, collaboration, the parties work together to create a win-win solutions where everyone is fully satisfied with the outcome.

Each type of negotiation has a time and a place for its use. For example, if in a dangerous situation such as mugging, you will not want to compete or attempt to collaborate with the mugger; rather, it is better to accommodate. However, in the workplace, collaboration is usually the best option because it creates win-win solutions and allows all parties to feel strong and empowered. Additionally, win-win solutions help:

  • Cultivate a positive working culture where staff members feel that they can communicate with one another.
  • Increase productivity by providing a comfortable environment where issues are quickly resolved.
  • Develop creative solutions because people are more effectively working with one another.

Tactics for Negotiating in the Workplace

So how can Megan collaborate with her boss in order to negotiate her raise, and how can John negotiate with Mark to complete his tasks on time? N.M. explains that there are some important tools that can be used to help team members negotiate effectively.

  • Actively Listen or hearing, comprehending, and responding to what the speaker is saying. Imagine Megan asks for a raise because she has worked for the company for three years and has increased sales by 10%. Her boss might respond by saying, 'You feel you deserve a raise because you have been here for three years and played an active role in increasing sales.' This statement responds to what Megan has said and shows full attention to her statement.
  • Focus on the Issue means that the conversation should be focused on the problem at hand, not the person. You Statements should be avoided at all costs. For example, John wants Mark to complete his tasks on time. The issue is the tasks being completed, not Mark as a person. Instead of saying to Mark, 'You never complete tasks on time,' John can say, 'It is really important that tasks are completed by the deadline in order to meet the needs of the client.' Here, John has focused on the issue and not on Mark as a person.
  • Find the Common Interest: This is uncovering what it is that both parties want, or identifying the common goal. A position is the side of the fence that both parties are sitting on. John's position is that he wants Mark to complete his tasks on time, and Mark's position is that he wants more time to do his job. The common interest or common goal is providing quality service to their clients. If John and Mark negotiate in the interest of serving clients, then they will be more likely to collaborate.
  • Come up with Options: When negotiating, it is important to come up with several ideas. Megan's position is that she wants a raise, but her boss may not be able to give her a raise. However, other options might include increasing vacation time, leaving early on Fridays, or working from home 20% of the time. There are several options that can be generated when people decide to collaborate.

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