How well developed is your ability to negotiate? To reach an agreement or compromise through listening, dialogue, and engagement? Can you find your way through a problem, challenge, or difficult situation by working with others to negotiate a win/win outcome? Or do you draw lines in the sand, stand your ground no matter what the cost, and are only satisfied when you get 100% of the win?
Often, without the willingness to negotiate, the end result is a lose/lose outcome. Everyone loses because there is no compromise and the environment can become toxic whether in the home or the workplace.How well developed is your ability to negotiate? Here are three reasons you need to learn to negotiate: Click To Tweet
Are there times when you need to stand your ground and fight for something without compromise? Absolutely. There are positions worth dying for and principles worth defending. But there are many issues in life and work that don’t fall in these areas but we approach them in the same way. We defend them as if our way is the only way and that approach can cause everyone to lose.
Here are three reasons you need to learn to negotiate:
1. The goal matters most not the path to get there.
Often, the steps to the goal can become battlegrounds for us and we lose sight of the end result. For example, you want your family to have a restful and fun vacation but your spouse has a completely different idea of what that looks like. Keep the goal in mind and keep listening and discussing until you both find a vacation location that works for your family. In work, you want the solution that truly meets the needs of your customers. Don’t let the success of the past or the fear of change keep you from engaging with your customers to find a way to meet their needs today. This may require some level of negotiation or compromise to find the right model that works for everyone.
2. You can win and still lose.
Where there is no listening, no engagement, and no compromise there is often an undercurrent of explosive emotions. Someone in power has declared the win with no opportunity for dialogue to understand the why or to ask for consideration on adjustments. Whether a parent, pastor, or an executive leader, a top down directive without taking the time to present the case for change and answer questions for better understanding can simply drive emotions underground causing all kinds of problems – misunderstanding, lack of trust, fear, passive aggressive behavior, and hurt. The problem with suppressed emotions is they won’t stay suppressed forever. Eventually they can disrupt in unhealthy ways doing major damage to the family, church, or organization. Whenever possible, consider compromise even when you have the power to declare the win.Where there is no listening, no engagement, and no compromise there is often an undercurrent of explosive emotions. Click To Tweet
3. A stalemate hurts everyone.
Too often, we take sides on issues and it becomes about us and them. You and me. Win and lose. Rather than taking a team approach and keeping your eye on the goal, it becomes personal and a real war or something that feels like war is declared. The battle lines are drawn and the only position accepted is a win/lose position. No progress and no movement. Each side retreats to their side believing strongly that they are right and the other side is wrong. The only problem with this is both sides have retreated. Withdrawn. Pulled away. There is no movement. We are at a stalemate.
In marriage, we encourage couples who get to this place to seek outside “negotiation” help. In business, sometimes an outside professional negotiator is brought in to help if the stalemate is between leadership and employees. It may take longer but it is good to keep the dialogue and engagement going until you find a way to make progress.
Almost everyday, we need the ability to negotiate well. There is an art and a science to negotiation and we need the intellectual ability to compromise but also the emotional intelligence in working well with people. Ultimately, the best development of all in learning how to negotiate comes from God who gives us wisdom.
If you want a biblical story of wise negotiation skills, read 1 Kings 3:16-27 when King Solomon had a problem most of us won’t ever face. The end result was “All Israel heard about the judgement the king had given, and they told in awe of the king because they saw God’s wisdom in him to carry out justice.”
“Now if any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives to all generously and without criticizing, and it will be given to him.” James 1:5
Why do you think learning to negotiate is so important?