Professor of Leadership
and Organizational Change
Leaders negotiate all the time, both inside and outside their organizations. Externally, they deal with customers, suppliers, investors and other stakeholders. Internally they negotiate for resources, schedules and support. Thus, the ability to negotiate and to resolve disputes is a fundamental skill that every leader needs to master. Whether you are involved in internal budget negotiations or external supplier negotiations, the ability to negotiate and manage conflict effectively comes from understanding the structural and interpersonal aspects of negotiations.
Different types of negotiations require different tactics: Negotiating the price of a car is different from negotiating the terms of a multi-million-dollar acquisition, not only in terms of overall value and importance, but also with regard to the number of parties and stakeholders involved. You negotiate differently depending on whether it is for yourself or on behalf of another party, or between co-workers, loved ones, or strangers; not surprisingly, the emotions vary depending on what is at stake. Other factors affecting the choice of tactics and likelihood of successful outcomes include: culture of the parties, time available, suspected length of the relationship and previous experience between the parties.