One of the most important aspects of communication strategies is the ability to negotiate in a way that is productive and beneficial to all the parties involved in the process of negotiations. It is even more valuable to be able to apply the existing theoretical basis in practice to resolve real-life conflicts. This paper is aimed at outlining the key negotiation styles and showing their effectiveness on the example of practical situations; at the same time, personal leadership qualities, as well as positive negotiation strategies, are also in the focus of attention. Before further analysis, it is necessary to define the primary goal of negotiation as a process that is aimed at reaching common grounds for all the parties involved in order to improve the situation and satisfy the interests of all the participants.
Generally, bargaining styles are subdivided into several opposing negotiators: cooperative problem-solvers and competitive adversarials; position-based and principled; and distributive and integrative. The aims of the former group are to reach the opponent and maximize common benefits. Such negotiators are reasonable, realistic, and open; they do not threat, but are open to a polite and respectful dialogue, which often presupposes common successions for the sake of finding a compromise (Craver, 2003). In such negotiations, there is no place for concealing facts and figures as all the participants are eager to discuss critical issues in a cooperative and concessional manner. For example, in discussing the financial side of a deal, cooperative problem-solvers are likely to agree on price reduction and part payment for the sake of signing a contract and preserving clients.
Competitive adversarial negotiators oppose their contractors. Their primary goal is satisfying personal interests. In reaching this aim, competitive adversarials do not choose honest means as they often sound unrealistically, conceal critical information, and their real intentions completely ignore the principles of fair play; they might make threats against their opponents, distort information, and manipulate in many other ways; they do not compromise or consider alternative solutions (Craver, 2003).
The position-based negotiation style requires each party to proceed with the prepared position that it agrees to accept. This allows to reach an agreement, though not always the most productive one. For example, both parties come to negotiations with the prepared drafts of contracts, which differ in some points. In such a case, negotiations are centered around finding an agreement on these points and creating a common version of the contract to be signed.
In contrast, principled negotiators concentrate on interests rather than positions. Notably, the problem is separated from people, and reasons for any suggestion are analyzed (Schonewille & Merks, 2010). For example, principled negotiators are concerned about the interests of their company and will rather sign not a very beneficial contract than discredit the image of the company.
Distributive negotiations presuppose unlimited sources of meeting ones interests; at the same time, these interests should be met at someone elses expense (Mayer, 2000). For instance, in contracts dealing with sales, distributive negotiators seek to have expenses related shipping, loading, taxes, delivery, etc. paid by the other party.
On the other hand, integrative negotiators also stream to satisfy their needs, but by meeting common interests of all the parties involved (Mayer, 2000). Thus, integrative negotiators would not reduce their part in business, but they would rather seek to expand the borders of their business in order to satisfy the growing financial expectations of all the participants of negotiations.
Personal Leadership in Negotiating
It is evident that the party that takes the role of a leader in negotiations predetermines its flow and has a great influence on the outcome of bargaining. In contrast, the followers attitude in negotiations allows only to react, but not define the process of bargaining. Therefore, taking up the role of a leader is an important factor of success. As far as my personal leadership is concerned, I believe there are several useful strategies that might help not only take the position of a leader, but hold it as well. First, self-presentation is of crucial importance as non-verbal communication constitutes around 93%. Thus, it is important to control ones body language, tone, appearance, etc. Second, a good leader should be authoritative. To strengthen this quality, it is necessary to be able to reveal the existing and possible conflicts, construct short-term and long-term development plans, be disciplined and self-effective, and demand these qualities from partners. Networking, leverage, and decision-making are also crucial for successful negotiations. Moreover, a leader-negotiator should be able to disclose the unfairness and hidden interests of the other parties who take part in the negotiation process. For this purpose, it is necessary to be a detective to some extent in order to reveal and confirm information, observe and analyze the non-verbal behavior of participants, and establish logical connections between facts. Salacuse (2013) also highlights, The very essence of leadership is not a quality at all but a relationship (p. 57). Indeed, where people are involved, the relationship is a key element.
Positive negotiation is wise negotiation where hard bargaining and unfair play are inappropriate. It is a point of human dignity to make negotiations beneficial to all the parties involved, where most of the interests are met, and a compromise is reached. One of the most important elements in positive negotiations is the establishment of an atmosphere of trust so that it is possible to adopt cooperative problem-solving and the integrative approach rather than adversarial. However, in order to make negotiations positive, all the parties should be ready to bargain in accordance with the above-mentioned principles. Each party should come prepared with a careful consideration of their goals and threats, alternatives and principle positions, expected outcomes and consequences, and beneficial relationships and possible solutions. Perhaps, the greatest challenge in conducting positive negotiations is the ability to keep a favorable attitude under the influence of stress factors, cultural biases, personal interests, and other issues that might influence the transparency of bargaining. Finally, positive negotiations are win-win. Unfortunately, as Goldwich (2011) states, the win-win result is much talked about, much sought after, and much prized, it is rarely achieved (p. 6). In practice, the win-win result should be an ideal ultimate goal, to which all the participants of negotiations should stream.
So far as any bargaining is related to conflict in view of its nature, positive negotiations also involve effective conflict and disagreement resolution. For this reason, it is necessary to distinguish between fundamental and interpersonal conflicts. Each of them requires certain problem-solving skills: the latter one is rooted in people and their emotions and might be regulated by pausing, distracting, or eliminating the triggering factor; the former one lies in a deep disagreement on important issues related to the goals and outcomes of a particular party and requires more complex problem-solving strategies.
Overall, all the above-mentioned negotiation styles deserve the right to exist as such. Each of the styles has its drawbacks and benefits. Given practical situations, combined style, which presupposes adhering to the positions of a particular bargaining style at a time and place where it is most beneficial to the party that uses it, is considered to be the most effective in negotiations. However, such approach is complicated, requires excellent psychological skills, and might considerably prolong the negotiation process. It is also of crucial importance to be a leader in negotiations and train personal leadership qualities, such as strategic planning, observation, and the ability to analyze information and make decisions. At the same time, whenever possible, positive negotiations should be conducted; for this process, the willingness to play fair and the active participation of all the bargaining parties are vital.