You are on page 1of 4

Negotiator Self-Assessment Stephanie Chaney MGT 3513 Labor-Management Conflict and Cooperation Section 1 October 26, 2011

Negotiator Self-Assessment

Chaney 2

Negotiation settles disputes between two parties or creates new opportunities through conflict resolution. Understanding yourself and your default negotiating style can help when you are preparing to enter into a negotiation. Being aware of your strengths and weaknesses means that you are better able to use your strengths to your advantage and curtail your weaknesses so that your opponent may not use them against you. A good negotiator is aware of his or her emotional style, conflict style, communication competence, trust inclinations, and ethical beliefs and behaviors. Each part of his or her default negotiation style is intertwined with these elements, and when used properly in a negotiation, can result in bargaining surplus and positively built relationships. Having said that, if your default negotiation style is at odds with your opponents style, awareness of your default style will help you to change styles appropriately. Again, the first step to becoming a good negotiator is understanding yourself and how your personal style affects your ability to negotiate successfully. There are three dimensions to your default negotiation style: the social, emotional, and cognitive. Each aspect is examined to find your inner preference in a negotiation. My default style is collaborative I engage, give, and redefine. This means that I shine in negotiations in which both parties can share information and increase the pie so that each party is better off having negotiated an agreement. A social engager is an extrovert who is willing to tackle conflict head on and trusts others unless they behave in an untrustworthy fashion. As an emotional giver, I enjoy ensuring that my opponents and my needs are met through cooperation and information sharing. On a cognitive level, I redefine the issues to find more creative pie-expanding solutions. This means that I prefer challenging assumptions and thinking outside of the box in a more creative and entrepreneurial method. However, there is a downside to having a collaborative default negotiation style. I have to be careful not to give too much away in a negotiation because I have a tendency to want to please others as a giver. My default style is not necessarily the best way to handle every negotiation, but it is the one I am most comfortable using. To be successful, each negotiation opportunity must be evaluated carefully to determine if my default style is best or not. For example, if my opponent is using a competitive style, I should try to persuade him to be more collaborative; however, if he refuses to change then I must be careful or he may walk away with most, if not all, of the bargaining surplus. A few years ago, I negotiated a contract between a school I worked for and Xerox. As I was shopping around in the market for a copier deal, I found that Xerox had some older machines available that they had removed from other businesses that recently purchased newer copiers. Xerox was unable to place their old machines anywhere. For my school, it was extremely important for us to upgrade to a larger capacity machine, but we did not want to increase our consumable expenses. One of these machines fulfilled our capacity needs well as long as it remained in working order. After negotiations began, Xerox wanted us to sign a standard copier agreement in which they would provide the copier and maintenance labor for

Negotiator Self-Assessment

Chaney 3

$0.06 cents a copy, but this was too high a price to pay for an almost out-of-date machine. During negotiations, I proposed that we could take the old machine if Xerox would provide all consumables, which included paper, toner, maintenance parts, and free labor. In addition, we would take three machines instead of one, which our sister schools would use. When we signed the final contract, Xerox agreed to provide all consumables along with the machines for a mere $0.04 cents a copy. The consumables were not originally part of the pie and neither was the idea of leasing multiple machines. Of course, this negotiation took several days and was not easy, but my default collaborative style helped create a bigger pie and then split it in an amicable fashion wherein both sides were happy with the results. Emotions are another important element that can be used in a negotiation. Some people use their negative emotions to manipulate, whereas, others remain rational and attempt to hide their emotions from the other side. Positive emotions are found to be the most effective according to research discussed in our class lecture. My results reflect that I lean more toward rationality and keeping my emotions from showing to the other side. In general, I believe that I start out positively, but if I hit strong or rude resistance, I might let my negativity show through. I must be careful to avoid losing my temper if things arent going well in a negotiation and control my frustration. I think this is why I lean more toward my rational side because I am afraid to use negativity, which I know will end badly in most cases. Using your emotional intelligence to gain a positive result is essential to an effective negotiator. Without communication, negotiations cannot take place. A competent communicator can look at a situation and determine what is an appropriate way to respond to reach his or her goals. Communication ability is broken down into several cognitions: planning, presence, modeling, reflection, and consequence. After taking the communication assessment, my final scores are as follows:
Planning = 4.2 Presence = 4.5 Modeling = 3.75 Reflection = 3.8 Consequence = 4.25

These results reveal that I am better at planning, presence, and consequence, and to a lesser extent, reflection and modeling. Therefore, I can conclude that I am able to anticipate and rehearse conversations, and I am keenly aware of how the other person is reacting toward my communication and me. On the other hand, I am slightly less capable of grasping certain contextual cues or reflecting on my performance. I must work on reflecting better to improve my communication skills because looking back at a previous communication helps me prevent future

Negotiator Self-Assessment

Chaney 4

mistakes or repeat successful ones. Bottom line, the better I communicate then the better the potential negotiated outcomes. Ethics is a concern in negotiations, as well. Unethical behavior can make it difficult, if not impossible, for someone to trust me enough to share information. Information sharing is important for successful integrative negotiations. Therefore, if my opponent or I act unethically, negotiations could fall through and even damage future relations. In the SINS II survey, my results signified that I hold high ethical beliefs and expect others to behave in an ethical manner. I do not like emotional manipulation tactics or using false promises to get what I want out of my counterpart. Lying outright is also unacceptable, but strategic omissions or strategically used emotions are acceptable in certain circumstances. Because I negotiate with my children all the time, I must be ethical and honest as their role model. If I lied to them to get what I wanted out of them, they would behave in a similar manner. Therefore, I choose to behave ethically so that others reciprocate and behave the same. In my belief, a person who acts ethically is a person who is trustworthy. The diagnostic results of the Trust Scale Questionnaire shows that my calculus-based trust items score is higher than my calculus-based distrust score. Furthermore, my identification-based trust items score greatly outweighs my identification-based distrust items score. Calculus-based trust is a trust judgment founded on consistency of behavior, which means that I believe that people will do what they commit to doing. On the other hand, identification-based trust is a deeper type of trust where I identify with the other partys values and interests. The results also show that I have a hard time trusting people who I cannot identify with and with whom I do not share common values. If my opponent consistently does not live up to their word then I find in very difficult to trust them too. Trust is essential in collaborative bargaining, so if I cannot negotiate with trust, I may fail to come to an agreement with the other side. I should keep this in mind and take measures to protect myself. Negotiating is difficult, but if you understand your default negotiation style, emotional style, conflict style, communication competence, trust inclinations, and ethical beliefs and behaviors then you can be a more effective negotiator. Creating and obtaining bargaining surplus is key in business today and even in personal transactions. As a collaborative negotiator, who is rational, trusting, ethical, and an adequate communicator, negotiating to me is empowering and can be synergistic. Having said that, I must be careful to use more positive emotions and to reflect more upon past communications to improve my abilities. In addition, I must practice being comfortable using other bargaining styles, like being more competitive, when required. Moreover, by becoming proficient in other negotiation styles and improving upon my default negotiation style, even more successful negotiations are within reach.