Good Negotiators Will Have These Traits

Joe Weinlick
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Negotiating at work is essential, especially when it comes to compensation, scheduling or work capacity. Managers need to be able to have calm, professional discussions with employees on this topic to ensure that everyone is satisfied with the end results of a negotiation. Negotiation skills are difficult to define, as the best negotiators tends to have their own unique styles and characteristics. Let's take a look at some common traits that the best negotiators share.

1. Open-Mindedness

Perhaps the most important personality trait is open-mindedness. When it comes to negotiating at work, you must be willing to compromise. Even though you're in a leadership position, sometimes you need to meet your employees halfway. It can be tempting to make your word the law, but that's only going to lead to disgruntled employees. During professional discussions, try to see the other person's perspective and work with them to achieve a mutually beneficial solution.

2. Self-Control

Negotiating at work isn't always a pleasant process. There may be times when office discourse becomes heated. As a team leader, it can be all too easy to let your emotions come to the forefront and react inappropriately. You must be able to stay level-headed, even when you feel upset. Try not to take words personally, and instead, stay focused on resolving problems.

3. Intelligence

Intelligence is an essential trait when negotiating at work. Intelligence goes far beyond book smarts. True intelligence is also rooted in emotion and reasoning. An intelligent negotiator is able to come up with outside-the-box solutions and ideas. Intelligence also naturally garners respect, which plays a major role in negotiating at work. If the person you're engaging with doesn't respect your mental prowess, it's going to be difficult to find common ground.

4. Strength

Although open-mindedness is one of the most critical personality traits for negotiating at work, there are times when you must be able to put your foot down. Try to find that balance between being a pushover and being stubborn. There are times when a compromise might not be available, and you need to be able to be firm and decisive. It can be tough, but there's a reason why a strong leader is almost always an effective negotiator, too.

5. Friendliness

A warm smile can be one of the most powerful tools in your arsenal when you're negotiating at work. In a corporate setting, it's far too easy for employee to dehumanize their superiors. Being cordial helps to remove that barrier. When your staff sees you as a genuine, kind person, they're going to be far more willing to listen to and adhere to your point of view.

The more you negotiate, the easier it becomes. There is no one-size-fits-all approach to negotiating at work. Always consider the context, the person and the potential rewards or consequences. Don't be hasty, and be willing to admit when you're wrong. The most powerful negotiation tool is a solid, long-term relationship with your staff.

Photo courtesy of Ambro at


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