Six Negotiation Attitudes to Attain Win-Win Outcomes

‘Getting to Yes… Without Giving In’ – William Ury

Henry has been offered a new job and needs to negotiate his contract as a win-win employment contract. He needs to negotiate his salary that includes a performance bonus, and hours of work with flexibility to work from home one day per week. As a single father, importantly, it will also need to include some flexibility for his family responsibilities.

Negotiation is the active process by which two-or more parties reach agreement over an issue. It entails back and forth communication to settle differences, and to generate options to attain a solution.

Negotiation involves a dynamic between a persuasive approach to one’s perspective, empathy to see the other side, and flexibility to come up with creative options that meet the needs of both parties to attain a win-win outcome. The principles of fairness, seeking mutual benefit, and maintaining a relationship are the foundation.

There are two general styles to negotiation

A competitive approach where one party seeks to maximise their gains or wins, generally at the expense of the other party. This often damages the relationship and decreases the likelihood of a successful resolution.

A collaborative approach that recognises both the substance and the relationship. It seeks options that accommodate the needs and interests of both parties, with a win-win focus. Values of trust and honesty are integral to the style.

There are three stages of negotiation.

Each stage is independent, however, combined it dovetails to form a negotiation process.

Stage One – Preparing for the negotiation

Before you negotiate, you will need to thoroughly research the issue and the position of both yourself and the other party. Be clear on the outcome that you seek: the ideal of what you desire, as well as the bare minimum of what you consider is acceptable.

Henry researched the industry to determine the salary range, and the inclusions of successful contracts. He understood the employer’s position in the industry. He matched this to his professional experience and what he considered to be his professional worth.

To support the negotiation process, be mentally prepared for the challenge ahead.

Stage Two – Interacting in the negotiation

This is the time both parties clarify their position and exchange information. It will comprise a brainstorm of possible options to trade concessions for the final agreement.

Henry and the employer established a positive relationship as they negotiated the terms of the contract. It required that both parties state their position, but also consider the entire situation. Henry was keen to have his professional recognition and personal arrangement met. The employer was seeking an employee who could be a part of the team, but also work autonomously. Each proposed their offer as they worked to overcome difficulties. Their agreement provided benefits to each.

Stage Three – Closing the agreement

An agreement is reached and is written to confirm the understanding of both parties, with a review period to discuss the success and difficulties of the implementation of the agreement.

Henry and the employer reached agreements that were written in his employment contract. A starting date to commence his role was accepted with a probation period and a performance appraisal, with a view to permanent employment.

Negotiation attitudes that support a win-win approach

Some attitudes support a collaborative approach to attain a win-win outcome. These include:

  • Respect that the objective of negotiation is not to win or lose, rather to seek agreement with mutual satisfaction on a particular issue.
  • Seeing the other party as a partner in the process, rather than an adversary.
  • Consideration to both sides of the issue, not just one’s perspective.
  • An openness to exploring a range of options, rather than taking a fixed position that supports oneself.
  • The belief in the relationship to communicate, share issues and discuss issues in an honest and constructive manner.

The essence of good negotiation is to maintain a positive relationship to build a win-win solution to meet the needs of both parties that is fair and realistic.

Henry and the employer negotiated a fair salary that was a win-win employment contract to meet his needs, and the salary range and terms of the employer. The negotiation process provided the opportunity to openly discuss the issues and confirmed the relationship that Henry was the right person for the new job.

What negotiation experiences have you had where you attained a win-win outcome, or perhaps met with unfair negotiation tactics? 

Leah Shmerling is the Director and Principal Consultant of Crown Coaching and Training, and has over 30 years’ experience in career development, life coaching, education and training. Leah is the author and publisher of the nationally accredited online short course Foundations in Career Development Practice.

Leah is a professional member of the Career Development Association Australia (CDAA), a Certified Retirement Coach and is Board Certified as a Career Management Fellow with the Institute of Career Certification.

Leah can be contacted by email. More about Crown Coaching here.

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