You’re Just My Type
Recently, I wrote about the importance of choosing the right counterpart when negotiating. To get a good idea of who you should negotiate with, you need to first understand what your natural tendencies are when confronted with conflict.
Thankfully, everyone responds differently in conflict. I say “thankfully” because if we all reacted the same way, solving problems would be much, much harder. As with most things in life, having different perspectives helps rather than hinders.
But back to you. There are five basic styles you can use when negotiating: “competitive,” “accommodating,” “avoiding,” “collaborative,” and “compromising.” No one style is superior; each style has its own strengths and weaknesses. And, in most instances, people adopt more than one style depending on the situation.
For instance, on any given Tuesday when confronted with a conflict, my natural reaction is to be a “compromiser” — I want to make sure that the result is good for both of us and since I know in my heart of hearts all problems have solutions, I tend to jump right in and start finding our best solution.
But what if it’s a Tuesday when I have 30 minutes free between two 3-hour conference calls, I missed breakfast, the phone is ringing, I have proposal due to a client at 5:00 and you’ve just come to me with a conflict over a project we’re working on?
Do not expect to talk to Compromiser Katie; she is not available. However, Avoider Katie would be happy to ignore you and the debacle you’ve discovered.
But because I know how I behave, both normally and under stress, I can better manage my interactions.
Before committing to a solution, I can review it to make sure I’m not unnecessarily sacrificing a good deal for myself in the interest of compromise.
Or if we work with one another on a regular basis, I might just come out and tell you when I’m stressed the best way to approach me about a conflict is with a potential solution.
Start here and here by reading more about each style and see if you can identify how you react to conflict. If you want more information, here is a collection of scholarly articles about the different conflict styles and how to better understand how they interact.
But even if you don’t read anything other than this post, paying attention to how you react, and how different situations impact how you react, will provide you with a wealth of information to improve your negotiations.