In most aspects of our lives, conflicts of interest are bound to arise. Disputes can be healthy for personal and communal development. However, all this is dependent mainly on the matches not being allowed to spiral out of control. As such, negotiation tactics are essential as they provide one with a tool to resolve contentious issues constructively. The negotiation consists of a discussion between parties working towards reaching an acceptable agreement for all involved. Various negotiation styles exist, and each can be effective in a given situation. An awareness of the particular negotiation style that one employs in multiple positions will lead to a person becoming a more skilled and hence effective negotiator. In this paper, I shall set out to illustrate my conflict-handling styles, which fall under collaborative and balanced negotiation, so as to demonstrate that a deeper understanding of one’s negotiation techniques can lead to higher chances of success. I shall also highlight the particular circumstances where each of these techniques proved to be a credit to further underpin the value of each style.
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Collaborative negotiations are based on shared interests, cooperation, and joint problem-solving. As a collaborative negotiator, one of my primary concerns is to ensure that the other party does not see the negotiation process as being equivalent to giving in to the other side’s demands, therefore, compromising their principles. Instead, I aim to restyle the negotiation so that it appears that each side is getting enough of what they want. The critical factor in collaboration is to make compromises and try to resolve the issue in an amicable fashion so as to ensure a healthy future relationship between the parties.
The primary consideration in collaborative negotiations is the safeguarding of future relationship with the other person/group. As such, I tend to emphasize the common interests between the parties when I am engaging in a collaborative negotiation. When both parties in a conflict have some common ground, they will seek to reach a solution that will not alienate them from each other since they both realize that their future relationship may be at stake.
When I employ the collaborative approach, I keep my communication with the other group open and honest. In most cases, this leads to the other party responding in kind, therefore ensuring leading to a situation where we view each other as comrades and not as adversaries fighting for different sides. This attitude brings about a trusting and friendly perspective. I have observed over time that when people are trusting, they tend to lower their guards, and instead of being defensive and suspicious, they give my group the benefit of the doubt and assume that my party is as committed to a beneficial resolution of the issue at hand.
The other approach that I utilize is the balanced approach borrows from both the competitive approach and the collaborative approach of conflict resolution. While the collaborative practice seeks to reach a win-win result for both parties, competitiveness is characterized by having a winner and a loser in the bargaining process. A balanced approach recognizes that the competitive and collaborative systems are not mutually exclusive, and one can indeed take some aspects of each when dealing with a situation. As a skilled negotiator, I, therefore, at times, take the best from both approaches to come up with a mixed strategy that will be most beneficial to my cause. For example, I find the collaborative attributes of trust and mutual respect to be very important in any effort. However, I also aim to achieve the most for my party, a feature of the competitive approach. As such, I am borrowing the desirable attributes of each path leads to the best results.
In my negotiations, I, at times, find myself in situations whereby the other party to the conflict represents opposing interests to those that my party holds. Such problems are also often compounded by a lack of a significant relationship between the parties involved. In such scenarios, a competitive negotiation model would dictate that I try to gain as much as I can for my party, even if at the expense of the opposite side, since the relationship between the parties is not of importance. However, a collaborative approach recognizes that this may be detrimental as it may lead to resentment, animosity, and bad-will by the party, which gets the less favorable bargain. A Collaborative approach will aim at finding some point of common interest so as to make both parties more hospitable to each other. Employing a balanced approach will, therefore, result in the identification of common objectives while at the same time trying to achieve the best deal for my party. This will lead to a resolution of the issue in the most profitable manner for each of the groups without necessarily alienating the other party.
Some of the negotiations that I have handled were conducted between groups of unequal power. In some cases, my group was the stronger party, and as such, adoption of a competitive stance would not only be viable but would also yield the most significant benefit to my group. However, this would lead to the alienation of the other parties. A balanced approach would recognize that despite my party having the upper hand in the particular negotiation, there is no guarantee that the same will hold true in future dealings. As such, future relations may be affected by my using of power to get a better deal. A more longsighted approach would, therefore, be most desirable. This would entail getting the most without employing any tactics that may be deemed as highhanded, thus leading to mutual respect.
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Whichever approach is taken, reaching a consensus is key to any negotiation process. The concession is the reaching of a unanimous agreement over the disputed issue. When a collaborative approach is used, the benefit will lead to all parties being winners, and future amicable relations will be preserved. A balanced approach will also yield the same results as the approach also aims for a win-win situation.
Despite my reliance on these two negotiating tactics, I concede that the notion of negotiation is not as simple as being either “hard and competitive” or “soft and cooperative”. I appreciate the fact that the best form of negotiation is one that emphasizes being realistic and embracing a practice that is neither opportunistic nor naive. Therefore, the negotiation outcomes that meet enough of my side’s interests and, at the same time, accommodate those of the other side are the ones that I seek to achieve in all my negotiating endeavors.
Negotiation tactics are an essential tool for anyone who is involved in conflict management at whichever level. In this paper, I set out to illustrate the negotiation approaches that I employ at various times. From the discussions presented in this paper, it is evident that an appreciation of the different negotiation approaches is essential for one to be an effective negotiator.