Each of us have different communication styles that are influenced by different personality types, experiences, skills and knowledge. These individual differences in personality, intelligence and outlook could also affect the outcome of negotiations.
For instance, Are you too accommodating or competitive? Assertive or responsive? Extroverted or introverted? These basic negotiating personality types impact your negotiating style and choice of strategy you use. Seeking to identify these basic preferred ways, you can enhance your negotiating skills according to the situation.
Furthermore it is easier to negotiate with people who have correlating personality types because people and situations are perceived similarly. However, the opposite is also true where a negotiator can make an extra effort to get his message across to those who have different personality types.
Though there are many factors that could influence negotiation outcomes, negotiator’s behavioural intentions and the expectations about the other party’s behaviour too significantly influence the outcomes.
Negotiation is not just about proposal and counterproposal. In real life negotiations, it is of crucial importance to be able to persuade others, i.e., to influence how other people reason about different alternatives.Katia Sycara & Tinglong DAI
Some differences that could potentially lead to different outcomes
Our innate and learned tendencies often impact our ability to negotiate. Knowing the preferences of the different personality types, one could use the knowledge for reaching his or her own goals. Negotiating tendencies such as conceding too much to preserve relationships, aggressiveness and extroversion could harm you or help you.
Some negotiate quickly and take risks while others take time and avoid risks. Few can be quite intimidating whereas some can be passive and can get easily manipulated. An individual’s general level of anxiety, worry and insecurity too affect the way they negotiate. Here are some other aspects of people’s personality traits that affect negotiations:
- Assertiveness: While some of us are naturally assertive, some are quite responsive during negotiations. Assertive people are quite confident and know what they want. They do not back down from negotiations and are more than willing to argue their views. However, sometimes assertiveness could be mistaken for being aggressive. In any negotiation process, it is better to recognise when it is appropriate to be more or less assertive.
- Responsiveness is one’s willingness to respond to others and their arguments. Some people are highly responsive in voicing their problems and needs. Others can be quite unwilling to respond and can be negative or difficult to deal with.
- Agreeableness. Negotiators of this personality trait are flexible, sympathetic, trusting, cooperative and tolerant. But agreeableness may prevent them from negotiating assertively for themselves.
- Conscientious negotiators are careful, disciplined, responsible and motivated. This personality trait is closely linked to high negotiation performance.
- Extroverted negotiators tend to perform better than introverted. And are optimistic, assertive where they verbalise what they are thinking. They prefer large groups and come across as deal makers, build relationships, draw out others’ interests and negotiate persuasively on their own behalf. However, they can easily get influenced by others and tend to be impulsive.
- Introverted tend to be quieter and listen to absorb what others are saying. They deliberate over their decisions and prefer to analyse information alone and prefer small negotiation groups.
Four basic negotiating personality types and their effectiveness
People prefer applying an approach that compliments their personality, needs, and self-image. According to research studies, there are four basic negotiator personality types. Each of these negotiating types are believed to possess its own type of arguments, and also has particular advantages and disadvantages.
These negotiating types bear close resemblance to those of Thomas-Kilmann styles of conflict management. It is easy to adopt a particular styler as a result of personal characteristics, but each style is a different strategy that anyone can learn and use as method to reach their goals.
Negotiation builds a team as well as a set of requirements— Barry BoehmTweet
Accommodative (soft bargainers)
Accommodating negotiators are friendly and interested in creating a positive dynamic for the negotiation. They are keen to smooth over differences as quickly as possible. And flexible with a natural tendency to preserve their relationship with other party. Accommodators do so by implying that it will be enhanced by the compliance of the other side. They expect that by being cooperative, the others feel obliged to show a similar attitude.
Pros: Accommodating negotiators are good in building teams and are good at mending broken relationships. Hence they can work with other negotiating types like collaborative and cooperative. They can easily unsettle competitive negotiators because competitive negotiators cannot win using their natural tendency.
Cons: Might go to the extent of satisfying the needs of other side at the jeopardy of their own interests. Since they like to connect on a personal level, they can easily get offended if the other is intolerant or unfriendly. They might use guilt, sympathy, and false generosity.
**If you are of accommodating types, you should be wary of when negotiating with competitive negotiators. Because making concessions when negotiating against high competitive styles will make you seen as weak. Avoid accommodating others’ needs at the expense of your own. Practice tolerance when dealing with unfriendly or hostile negotiator.**
Collaborative (principled bargainers)
They use objective standards to generate options for mutual gain. Collaborative negotiators are open and honest. Their main focus is on others’ concerns and interests. They work towards finding creative solutions to make sure both sides are satisfied. However, may tend to turn simple situations into complicated ones by involving too many alternatives. They work towards creating a collective or joint outcomes.
Pros: They look for amicable solutions to meet the needs of everyone involved in a negotiation process. Since competitive negotiators tend to claim more than their fair share, collaborative negotiators can have a winning edge over them by working towards a common goal or a win-win strategy.
Cons: Collaboration requires one to expend more resources like time and effort, so at times, they may get tempted to compromise and rush in order to close the negotiations. Sharing too much information may leave them exposed and exploited.
**If you are of this negotiating type, you may not fare well against competitive style. Be adaptive to their techniques. Don’t make early concessions and stand your ground by focusing on your desired goal. If you are negotiating with people who try to avoid or stall, encourage them to come up with alternatives to engage them in the process. Be wary of the accommodative negotiators who may lure you with false generosity that might drive you to make high value concessions.**
Competitive (hard bargainers)
Competitive negotiators are assertive and highly results-driven. They concentrate primarily on maximising their own outcomes. Their assertiveness sometimes makes them come across as intimidating. They refuse to make concessions, but insist that the other party does. Getting results matter more to them than preserving relationships.
Pros: Competitive negotiators are strategic thinkers therefore don’t give into opposite side’s arguments. They usually take a lead and take control of the negotiation. Always strive towards getting a better deal than their opponent which results in a win-lose situation.
Cons: They become easily irritated and their assertiveness might sometimes turn aggressive. Using an aggressive approach may end up stalling certain negotiations and at times make certain people avoid the negotiations altogether. They behave in a self-serving manner and often lack trust needed to solve problems jointly.
**If you tend to be competitive in your negotiations, it is important to change the way you approach negotiations involving other types. Since accommodators and collaborators tend to cave first in order to avoid conflicts, pushing for larger concessions can help you to hold your ground. Use your natural competitive and direct style so not to get obliged by accommodators to return with high value concessions.**
Cooperative (something for something)
They see themselves as deliberate negotiators and tend to pre-plan their responses. Cooperative negotiators allow the other side to move first and if the move is positive they often would reward it with a countermove. Their usual approach is to do what is fair for both or that of finding a middle ground.
Pros: They strive to maximise both their own and other parties’ outcomes and see that their resources are divided fairly. Cooperative negotiators allow the sustainability of the relationship with the other side. They are more successful than hard bargainers at reaching novel situations that improve everyone’s outcomes.
Cons: Since they focus on common goal and mutual interests, this may sway them away from their priority objectives. They may be at a real disadvantage when negotiating with competitive negotiators who are more concerned primarily with making a beneficial deal.
**If this is your preferred way to negotiate, it is important not to request concessions from the other side that you know they cannot make. If you do so, they will find it difficult to believe that you are interested in working for an agreement. To make the other party understand your position, let them know your bottom line. This allows the other to include other elements that you value so as to give you an incentive to agree.**
Questions to self-reflect on your preferred negotiating tendency
What is your preferred approach in negotiations?
How easily or quickly you make concessions to accommodate others?
Are you extroverted and assertive or introverted and agreeable?
How do you think your personality and individual trait influences your negotiation strategy?
Are you flexible enough to negotiate with others whose style is perceived to be different than yours?
What do you value the most in a negotiating situation—-relationship, emotions or outcome?
To Sum up,
Good negotiations result in building better relationships, deliver lasting solutions and help you avoid future problems and conflicts.
Research indicates that many negotiators do not make a conscious choice regarding their negotiation strategies that will be followed in a particular situation, but rely on their intuition, experience or some social stereotypes about the other party that determine their behaviour as the process unfolds.
Understanding the above negotiating tendencies can help you to intuitively adapt their style when facing someone perceived to be significantly different to yours.
Having knowledge of the personalities involved on the process enables you to be prepared to negotiate at any given point in time. It also enables you to choose the most appropriate strategy and predict behaviour. Furthermore it helps establish the attitudes that people will display towards one another for the rest of the process.
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