Each commercial negotiator has a natural negotiating style.
Sometimes this is driven by the business environment and commercial factors that are relevant to the agreement being discussed. Many times, it reflects the preferences, beliefs and values of the individual. This can be harnessed to each person’s advantage because a natural style will result in negotiations that reflect authentic views and true passions. However, everyone benefits from reflecting upon whether their negotiation personality is serving the best interests of the organization they represent and the agreement they seek to make.
Negotiation personalities are typically:
Competitive – Seeking to conquer, thriving in combative circumstances, prescriptive and direct
Collaborative – Problem-solving, protective of the relationship, consultative and open
Neither style is right or wrong, it is simply which is more appropriate and more likely to be effective in the negotiation scenario presented. When the natural style is known, it is then essential to recognize the pitfalls associated with failing to apply the style.
The most common pitfall with the identification and application of the appropriate style is misinterpreting competitive style with being “tough” and a collaborative style as being “soft”. Neither is true as both styles have common characteristics. They are both rigorous, ethical, professional and solutions-driven.
To improve your negotiation personality, identify the most common mistakes with misinterpretation of competitive and collaborative styles.
Instead of being too soft (treating the other party like a friend to get agreement) or too tough (treating the other party like an adversary to get a victory), seek an efficient solution.
Instead of being too soft (insisting on achieving agreement at any cost) or too tough (insisting on achieving your position at any cost), determine success based on facts.