Real leaders learn to negotiate

At this point, we’ve all seen the diagram of the difference between a leader and a boss. The boss sits in his chair and his employees drag the company (and him) forward while the leader is first in line to help pull the company forward with his own hands. If you want to be an effective leader, there are a few distinct skills you need to develop. Negotiation is a tool that can make or break your leadership.

The importance of negotiation

A good leader does not lead by democracy, yet you must learn to act like you do. If your employees, clients or board members are unhappy with the way you do things, the long-term consequences will be dire. Negotiation will encourage acceptance – if not happiness – on all sides of the equation without sacrificing your end goal.

What are non-negotiables?

As a leader in charge of a company, there are bound to be a few things you are not willing to sacrifice. Every leader has their guiding star. The goal that makes them tick and gives the whole company purpose. Consider Elon Musk – his ventures have been on the brink of failure a number of times. But he stuck to his vision and didn’t compromise the integrity of his company’s end-goal. Non-negotiables help define your direction as a leader, but don’t let them make you too rigid. Steve Jobs had many non-negotiables and he was sacked as a result. When dealing with your team, you can communicate your non-negotiables to help them understand your direction and why you are pushing for certain things.

The basics of negotiation

Negotiation is an agreement between two parties to split resources, thereby coming to a compromise. The word compromise is key in that definition. A skilled negotiator can skew the negotiation in their favour without the other party realising. When negotiating with your team, remember that you are talking with people. They each have their own non-negotiables and it’s important to find out what they are early on to save time. From there you can both agree on a favourable outcome that benefits both parties. To delve deep into the mechanics of negotiation, then read this paper.

The way forward

As a leader, you should have a certain amount of flex. Before entering each negotiation, ask if it will harm your end goal. If not, you can afford to negotiate more – increasing happiness levels and satisfaction across the board. A good leader should be able to walk out of a negotiation room with a result that ensures the longevity of his company and the satisfaction of all parties: a win-win result.