Negotiation is one of the most utilized skills by leaders. By taking roles in a work scenario, leaders practice this critical trait.
- To identify participants’ preferred negotiation techniques.
- To practice the use of negotiation skills.
- Case study
- Attached handouts
- Extra paper and pens
Tables and chairs for small groups
Leaders use negotiation more than any other leadership competency. Training people in negotiation skills can be challenging because you not only have to change people’s behavior but also give them information. And that usually takes time. A module or two about negotiation won’t be particularly useful in the long run unless participants understand the concepts and practice them frequently.
Some people are natural negotiators, but everyone can improve with some practice and reflection. In this activity, you can make use of a coach for each negotiation team. This approach allows dispassionate observers to help identify roadblocks or issues that must be addressed. The best negotiations are those in which each “side” feels that it has “won.”
Negotiation is not compromising!
This activity requires that you do preparations in advance. Have participants take the Dealing with Conflict Instrument (DCI) so that they can understand their chief negotiation style. They will then feel comfortable changing their negotiation strategies. We chose this technique after careful consideration because the five style types identified in the DCI parallel the negotiation styles commonly accepted by leaders. It is important that facilitators know how to use the DCI instrument, which won’t be difficult to do since the instrument itself comes with detailed instructions for training and teaching. This instrument is also useful for other kinds of training.
We recommend that your participants complete the instrument before the module is presented, and then bring the scored instrument to the session.
Step By Step Procedure
- Introduce the subject of negotiation by asking participants what they think is the definition of negotiation in their business context. Obtain answers and write them on the flipchart.
Next, ask participants if they know what their personal negotiation style is based on. Discuss the responses given. Then tell participants that negotiation is one of the most complex leadership competencies. Everyone has taken Dealing with Conflict Instrument. Chart the primary conflict styles. Ask for scores, and write them on the flipchart.
- Ask what these scores mean to each one? Bargaining and negotiation styles are relatively stable. They are personality-driven clusters of behaviors and reactions that arise in negotiating encounters. Bargaining and negotiation strengths are those in or above the 75th percentile.
- Use the flipchart to review the main points.
Accommodators – Negotiators who are strongly inclined towards accommodating significant satisfaction from solving other people’s problems. This is a great trait to have on a negotiating team. If you are weak in terms of accommodation, you might not be interested in the other party’s emotional state, needs, or circumstances. You might also try to hold out for more of what you want.
Compromisers – Negotiators who are eager to close the gap in a fair and equitable way. However, strong compromisers often rush the negotiations. Weak compromisers are often men and women of great principles. They can sometimes appear to be stubborn.
Avoiders – Negotiators who are adept at deferring and then dodging the confrontational aspects. Diplomats and politicians are often high avoiders. Low avoiders are sometimes perceived as lacking tact, and as negotiators tend to show a high tolerance for assertive, hard-nosed bargaining.
Collaborators – Negotiators who tend to enjoy negotiations because they enjoy solving tough problems. They are instinctively good at using negotiation to probe beneath the surface of a conflict.
Competitors – Negotiators who, like high collaborators, like to negotiate, but they enjoy it for a different reason: Negotiation presents an opportunity for them to win what they consider to be a game based on a set of practiced skills. People who are weak in the competing area tend to think that negotiations are all about winning and losing.
Now that you have outlined the five basic styles, tell participants that there is no single correct style for being a strong negotiator.
- Divide the group into teams 0f five people each. Each team will do its own role play, but the entire group will reassemble to discuss differences in the way participants negotiated.
Explain the instructions, as follows:
“We are now going to get into teams and practice negotiating. Each team of five will consist of three players, one coach, and one recorder. While the players will be the primary spokesmen and do the actual negotiating, the recorder on the team will take notes regarding content, so you can have a record of the experience. The recorder will have access to all three player background sheets and will talk about the content during the debrief. The coach has a critical role which is being a helper in the negotiation process and can call brief time-outs to advise the negotiators.” In the end, take some time to debrief and discuss all of these roles.
Let team members decide who will take on which role. Once they have selected their roles, distribute the attached document named: Role Background Info. Each player gets to see only the scenario he/she is going to play, but the recorder and coach should have a copy of each.
- After having participants gone through their role’s description, distribute and have each player complete the Preparation for Negotiation document, while you meet with the recorders and coaches to explain their responsibilities. Let the teams start off by themselves to play out the scenario (about 15 minutes).
- When the role-playing is completed, debrief together. Recorders start the debrief, explaining what they recorded of the negotiation process. (Chart the highlights of each group’s process.) Divide the time up evenly so each group has approximately the same amount of time to respond. Recorders will be asked to describe:
The Best Alternative to a Negotiated Agreement: This is a way for the recorder to try to identify what participants were really ready to settle for (before the negotiation), vs. what they got as a result of the negotiation.
What did I win: In the recorder’s opinion, what did each person gain?
What would I do differently: The recorder reviews each role and identifies moments when participants might have made different decisions.
- When the recorders have finished, the coach makes a report, concentrating on his or her role during the negotiation. The coaches should answer these questions:
-When did you stop the scenario and why?
– How were you helpful?
– Did you add to a feeling that the negotiation was successful?
Then the coaches should identify each of the three conflict styles used by the team. If the individual’s primary style is to accommodate, they will still use that style to flesh out a role—even though they are role-playing. If there is still time, allow the role-players in the group to comment on the experience.
- Summarize the activity by asking participants what they are going to do about their negotiation style after taking part in this activity. Encourage discussion in teams or in the whole group. Have participants take notes on how they can apply what they learned about negotiation styles.
Shortly after conducting this activity take some time to reflect on how it went, how engaged the participants were, and what questions they raised. Write dows notes that include how much time you actually spent on the activity.