by ed2go instructor, Patricia J. Addesso, Ph.D.
(more about this instructor below)
We negotiate with other people all the time including our boss, with our co-workers, our employees, friends, family, strangers… Negotiation is a type of bargaining that involves an exchange or give-and-take.
TWO TYPES OF NEGOTIATIONS
In one type of negotiation, known as the win-lose approach, someone wins and someone loses. In the other type, both parties can win. This, of course, is the win-win approach.
Think about the differences in each type of negotiation. Are you working with or against each other? And what implications does this have for your dealings with that person in the future? Sometimes, we choose to pursue a win-win situation simply because we want a long-term relationship with another person.
We’ll start by discussing win-lose situations. In these conditions, anything I gain is at your expense and vice versa. (Ex. Suppose you have advertised your old couch for sale at a price of $100. Someone comes to look at it, and offers you $75. Obviously, every gain for one person is a loss for the other in this situation.)
There are win-lose situations at work as well. If you have ever negotiated for a salary increase, you know that for every dollar you gain the company loses that dollar. The key to negotiations like this is to settle on the range of acceptable solutions. You probably go into a negotiation with a range in mind. In our example above, you have asked $100 for your couch, and you know in the back to your mind that you will take $75. You have also decided not to take any less than $75, even if you have to keep the couch. Obviously, the buyer doesn’t know this range. He or she has made up his or her mind to pay between $60 and $80 for a couch. The settlement range in this example is between $75 and $80. The tricky part is that no negotiator is going to share with the other party his or her desired range. Somehow we need to go back and forth, keep the other party from walking away, and agree on a price that will eventually be between that $75 and $80 range.
The other type of negotiation is the win-win situation. In this negotiation, there is not a set amount to distribute between the parties. When possible, we should look for win-win situations. They build long-term relationships and allow us to build trust and work together more effectively in the future. Win-lose situations do not create this kind of trust and may keep us from working together effectively on an ongoing basis.
So how do you go about setting up situations where win-win situations are possible? First, there has to be a certain level of trust. People need to be open with information, candid about what they want and what their concerns are, and show a willingness to be flexible. Obviously, you don’t necessarily trust the person who shows up to buy your couch. You may never see that person again in your life. So there is no reason to announce that you will take anything between $75 and hundred dollars for your couch. That person will immediately give you $75 and walk away. But what if you are selling the couch to a family member or a neighbor? You’re more concerned about the ongoing relationship with that person, so you may have a more open discussion about what they can afford to pay. You may also be more open about the positive and negative aspects of the couch. The same may be true about work relationships.
Look for the win-win in negotiation situations. What does the other person stand to gain? When you go into a negotiation with your boss, co-worker, or employee, and you are asking something from them, what do you have to offer in return?
Patricia Addesso has worked for over 20 years in retail, academic and telecommunications organizations. She has a doctorate in Industrial/Organizational Psychology, and well-grounded in the theory of human behavior at work. In addition, she has held management positions in three companies, and thus “speaks the language” of upper management. This blend of the theoretical and the practical is the hallmark of her consulting style. Dr. Addesso’s specialty is organization development and team building. She has been involved in managing mergers, acquisitions, and other large-scale organizational changes, and is currently involved in projects such as strategic planning and personality assessments.