Bringing agreement through dialogue and compromise
Where 'agree to disagree' becomes 'agree to agree'
Sometimes Known As
Mediators, Arbitrators, Reconcilers, Consensus Architects
Negotiators work meticulously to reconcile conflicting interests, establishing a sense of peace and cooperative relationships through considered dialogue and compromise
Jobs a Negotiator Might Hold
Education: Dean of Student Affairs
Healthcare: Medical Negotiator for Insurance Companies
Technology: Licensing and Compliance Specialist
Construction: Project Bid Coordinator
Science: Intellectual Property Rights Negotiator
Art: Museum Acquisitions Specialist
Negotiators are patient, understanding, and equitable. They display superior interpersonal skills, listen attentively, and exhibit an uncanny ability to identify common ground amid intricate disagreements.
Negotiators possess the skills needed to support them in their mission towards harmony and peace:
Conflict Resolution: Facilitating a peaceful ending to a dispute.
Emotional Intelligence: Understanding and managing emotions.
Negotiation: Creating an agreement that all parties find acceptable.
Mediation: Facilitating dialogue between conflicting parties.
Problem-Solving: Finding solutions to complex challenges.
The Devil’s Advocate: Those who provoke disputes, intensify conflicts, and shun compromise.
Advocates: Will negotiators find themselves at odds with advocates, who may see compromise as a dilution of their staunch positions?
Disrupters: Will negotiators have friction with disrupters, who seek rapid change over the incremental progress typical in negotiations?
For negotiators, who play a crucial role in resolving conflicts and reaching agreements, there are specific traps to be cautious of:
Bias: Negotiators must be wary of unconsciously favoring one side over the other. This can undermine their neutrality and effectiveness, as any perceived bias can damage the trust parties have in the negotiation process and the negotiator’s role in it.
Emotional Entanglement: Getting emotionally entangled in the disagreements they are tasked with resolving can be a significant trap for negotiators. Such emotional involvement can cloud their judgment and impede their ability to facilitate fair and objective resolutions.
Impatience: Negotiators must avoid the urge to rush the negotiation process. Successful negotiation often requires time and patience to understand each party's perspectives and needs fully. Rushing can lead to superficial agreements that do not address the underlying issues, potentially causing conflicts to resurface later.
Why They Are Essential For Transformation
Negotiators play a vital role in fostering a harmonious atmosphere within organizations. They mediate disagreements, ensuring they are resolved with respect to the interests and needs of all involved parties. This promotes a more congenial, collaborative work environment.
Focus For The Negotiator’s Inner Work: Inner Harmony
For a negotiator, cultivating inner harmony is paramount. As they stand at the crossroads of diverging interests, the external conflicts they manage can often manifest as internal struggles. Especially when confronted with equally compelling demands from different parties, a negotiator might grapple with the challenge of finding balance. Nurturing inner peace allows them to transcend these conflicts, ensuring they approach negotiations with clarity, neutrality, and an even temperament. By grounding themselves in inner harmony, negotiators can skillfully traverse the intricate web of interests, championing resolutions that are both fair and effective.
On The Negotiator’s Bookshelf
To aid in their inner journey and to hone their skills, negotiators can immerse themselves in the following books:
Both/And Thinking: Embracing Creative Tensions to Solve Your Toughest Problems by Wendy Smith and Marianne Lewis. An insightful guide into harnessing the power of opposing forces to drive innovative solutions.
Getting to Maybe: How the World Is Changed by Frances Westley, Brenda Zimmerman, and Michael Patton. A transformative look into the intricacies of social change and the art of navigating complex systems.
Difficult Conversations: How to Discuss What Matters Most by Douglas Stone, Bruce Patton, and Sheila Heen. An invaluable resource that delves into the mechanics of effective communication, especially in challenging scenarios.
About The Negotiator
Negotiators are the changemakers who reconcile conflicting interests, creating a harmonious balance through thoughtful dialogue and compromise. Their ability to navigate complex disputes and find common ground is not just a professional skill—but an art form that fosters cooperation and peace.
They are patient, understanding, and have a deep sense of equity. They possess exceptional interpersonal skills, allowing them to listen attentively and discern the heart of intricate disagreements. Their work, driven by diplomacy and emotional intelligence, aims to transform conflict into resolution, ensuring outcomes respect the interests and needs of all parties involved.
However, the path of a negotiator isn’t without its challenges. They must constantly guard against favoritism and emotional entanglement in the disputes they aim to resolve. Their role is crucial in ensuring harmony and collaboration within organizations, mediating disagreements with respect and consideration. Yet, their greatest task lies within—cultivating inner harmony. This allows them to approach negotiations with clarity, neutrality, and a balanced temperament. By maintaining their inner equilibrium, negotiators can effectively bridge the gap between conflicting parties. In a world where differing opinions and interests often collide, negotiators are the vital link that binds, harmonizing discord into a symphony of cooperative progress.
Negotiators In Real Life
Here are a few notable changemakers from diverse cultural and geographical backgrounds who excel in the art of negotiation.
Lakhdar Brahimi, an Algerian diplomat and United Nations envoy, has been involved in peace negotiations in several conflict zones, including Afghanistan, Iraq, and Syria. His approach, often termed as the "Brahimi Report," emphasizes the importance of comprehensive and inclusive peace processes. Brahimi's career as a negotiator is marked by his persistent efforts to bring sustainable peace in some of the most turbulent regions.
Christiana Figueres, a Costa Rican diplomat, was instrumental in the successful negotiation of the Paris Agreement on climate change in 2015. Her leadership and ability to unite over 190 countries in a common cause against global warming demonstrates her exceptional negotiation skills. Figueres' efforts showcase how effective negotiation can lead to significant global agreements in the face of diverse interests and viewpoints.
Mary Robinson, former President of Ireland and UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, has been a powerful force in advocating for human rights and gender equality. Her negotiation skills were particularly evident in her work on international human rights laws and climate justice, where she successfully brought together diverse stakeholders. Robinson's ability to negotiate and advocate for the marginalized has had a profound impact on global policies and practices.
"Let us never negotiate out of fear. But let us never fear to negotiate.”
— John F. Kennedy,
US Presidential Inaugural Address, January 20 1961
"The partner truly best suited to us is not the one who miraculously happens to share every taste, but the one who can negotiate differences in taste with intelligence and grace."
— Alain de Botton,
The Course of Love
“I don't believe in people just hoping. We work for what we want. I always say that one has no right to hope without endeavor, so we work to try and bring about the situation that is necessary for the country, and we are confident that we will get to the negotiation table at one time or another.”
― Aung San Suu Kyi