Your Leadership Success Hangs on Your Ability to Negotiate

Aha Moment: Effective leaders know how to use their influence in negotiations.

Negotiation has been referred to as an art form.

As an effective leader, you know how to negotiate using your influence and to advocate for your value.

You bring all the skill and knowledge that you have to the bargaining table in order to reach an agreement that’s favorable.

Not sure you’ve arrived at the pinnacle of negotiating? Here are some ways to improve this skill and become a better leader.

A critical leadership skill

Whether you’re a woman or a man in a leadership role, your position demands that you be a good negotiator.

You’re constantly negotiating with people concerning budgets, time, and even political capital or power.

To be successful, you must possess certain qualities.

You have to be able to:

  • Understand how to create an opportunity. It’s very rare that a great opportunity just falls in your lap. You have to know how to get the ball rolling.
  • Compromise. Know what you are willing to give up in order to get what you really want.
  • Get what you want. The art comes in when all is said and done and you have successfully achieved what you set out to.

You make trade-offs based on your level of experience, your relationship with others, your network, your influence, and your political power.

Men, women, and negotiations

Research suggests that men and women handle negotiations differently.

Women tend to under-negotiate and leave more of what they want at the table, whether it’s a title, raise, or a promotion.

When a woman is offered a job opportunity for which she doesn’t have the skill or expertise, she’s more likely to walk away, waiting to develop the necessary knowledge.

Men, on the other hand, are more likely to quickly say yes, jump right in, knowing they don’t have the skills, learning what they need to on the fly.

Tips for effective negotiation

Here’s what you need to know when you’re approaching the bargaining table.

  • Understand your position. Think about what you can offer that someone else may want or need. You have to look for the win-win. For example, if you’re trying to get a raise, your employer will decide if the loss of you is greater than giving you more financially. Negotiate in such a way that both sides get the “win.”
  • Negotiate for the change. What will happen if you get what you want? When you’re bargaining, make the impact the change will bring about clear. Think ahead and use the desired outcome to your advantage.
  • Ask for what you want, even if it’s beyond what they need. Ask for more to get what you really want. It’s harder to go back to the bargaining table and ask for more if you don’t get enough. If you get more, you can do more. As a leader, you should always have your eye on the unexpected benefits.
  • Always have a second position. Always have a Plan A, B, and C, and make them a part of your negotiations. You shouldn’t have to go back to the drawing board, but instead, be prepared with another option. Remember that a good leader is a good planner. The more you can stay in a state of forward progress, even if you don’t get exactly what you planned for, the better!
  • Build your credibility. Be relevant and show that you’re valuable before you go into negotiations. You’ll have more influence and can negotiate from that position.

To be the leader that you want to be, you need to be a savvy negotiator who knows how to use your influence and reputation to get a favorable outcome. Use these tips to advance your negotiation skills and build your leadership capabilities at the same time.

What tried and true tips or tricks do you use when you’re negotiating?