Most people have adopted one style or the other, although there are those with enough behavioral flexibility to choose between styles, depending on circumstances. See which style better describes your approach.
A distributive negotiator assumes the following:
- A limited resource pie will be split (i.e., distributed) between participants and there won’t be enough for all parties to get all they want.
- A dueling mentality: “winning” means getting more/better than the others.
- The parties are enemies; there will be a winner and loser(s).
- Strategy (i.e., trickery) is required to win.
- When all parties are strong negotiators, the best result will be a compromise.
An integrative negotiator assumes the following:
- Through sharing, discovery, and honoring all interests (i.e., integrating), all parties can get all of what they need.
- A problem-solving mentality: “winning” means achieving your interests.
- The parties are addressing allies; all parties will win.
- Clarity about outcomes is required to win.
- When all parties are strong problem solvers, mutual gains can be greater than anyone came to the table expecting for one party.
People With Strong Leadership Gift Skills Favor Integrative Negotiating For Three Reasons:
1. Payoffs. An integrative approach creates a better chance for fulfilling one’s own interests, regardless of the negotiating style of the other party.
2. Ethics. Integrative negotiating honors the self and others instead of belittling anyone.
3. Relationships. Integrative negotiating yields opportunities for further dealing with the other parties in the future.
How can we become better at integrative negotiating? It’s actually very simple.
Integrative negotiators know what they want. That’s it. Invest the time to get very, very clear about your interests and then specify exactly what you want.
Here’s a quick example: during a recent reorganization, a Vice President was asked to accept a position as a Director. Of course, the knee-jerk reaction would have been, “No way!”
But after he meditated on his career values, he found that title was of much less value to him than being challenged, using his skills, making a difference and being fairly compensated. (Now, that’s knowing your interests!) So, he accepted the offer — and got all the things that were most important to him.
Get Started With This Week’s 5-Minute Stretch
Reflect on the last time you bought a car or another big-ticket item, or the last time you negotiated for work. Which style — distributive or integrative — best described your behavior?
Did you achieve all your interests? How could you have met even more of them?
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Christopher Avery, PhD, is a recognized authority on how individual and shared responsibility works in the mind and an advisor to leaders worldwide.