The Art Of Knowing When To Delegate In A Negotiation

Good negotiators know that they don't have to do it all
Good negotiators know that they don’t have to do it all
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If you are like most negotiators, you wish that you could be perfect. If you were, then you’d never make a mistake and you could do everything that was required in order to land the best deal. In other words, you’d have no negotiating weaknesses. No matter what negotiation styles or negotiating techniques the other side used, you would always get the deal that you wanted. However, none of us are perfect and so that means that we do have weaknesses. Hiding our weaknesses from the other side of the table is a skill that we all have to develop.

Know Your Weakness

In order to be a truly successful negotiator, we need to first admit that we have weaknesses. Our next step has to be to discover what our personal weaknesses are. Remember, the other side is going to be working very hard to discover what our weaknesses are so if you can do this before they do, then you’ll be ahead of the game.

A negotiator’s weaknesses can take on many different forms. Two of the most common that I’ve run across include lacking attention to detail and talking too much. Many negotiators like to keep their eyes on the “big deal” and can’t be bothered to take the time to deal with all of the particulars of a negotiation. Many negotiators can’t stand to sit in silence and so they’ll start talking when nobody else is and they may inadvertently reveal too much about their negotiating positions.

Most negotiators don’t realize that they need to take action to protect themselves from having their weaknesses exploited by the other side of the table. Your ultimate goal needs to be to find ways to prevent the other side from finding ways to use your weaknesses to frustrate the deal that you want to make with them.

Use Delegation To Protect Yourself

We negotiators unfortunately always seem to believe that we can do everything by ourselves. It is exactly this kind of thinking that can get us into trouble. When we take this approach, it seems to expose our weaknesses and opens the door to the other side to take advantage of us.

A great way to defend yourself is to master the art of delegation. If you’ve followed my advice and discovered what your negotiating weaknesses are, then you’ll know what areas you need to defend. These are also the areas where you can use delegation to protect yourself.

In order to be able to delegate a portion of a negotiation to another member of your team you are going to have to be able to fully trust them. This is something that you can’t just assume at the start of the negotiations if your team has just been thrown together. Rather, this deep level of trust is something that is built up over time. Remember to build your negotiating team so that when you have to delegate in order to make up for one of your weaknesses you can do it with full confidence that responsibility is being handed over to someone that you trust.

What All Of This Means For You

Every negotiator has one or more weaknesses. We’d all like to think that we’re perfect, but we’re not. What this means is that we need to understand and acknowledge that we have weaknesses and then we need to take steps to protect ourselves.

The first step is to find out what our weaknesses are. Once we know this we can start to create a plan to protect ourselves from the other side. One of the best ways to protect ourselves is to delegate the tasks that we are weak in to other members of our negotiating team.

All too often negotiators spend their time thinking about how they want to play offense during a principled negotiation in order to get the deal that they want. What we forget is that at the same time we need to play defense in order to prevent the other side from taking advantage of our weaknesses. Use delegation and the negotiating skills of your team to defend yourself the next time that you negotiate.

– Dr. Jim Anderson
Blue Elephant Consulting –
Your Source For Real World Negotiating Skills™

Question For You: What is the best way to find out what your negotiating weaknesses are?

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What We’ll Be Talking About Next Time

As negotiators we like to think of ourselves as being tough and strong, right? We know that we’ll get what we want out of our next negotiation no matter what negotiation styles or negotiating techniques the other side of the table uses. Well, all too often it turns out that we have our own set of weaknesses. This in of itself isn’t a fatal problem, but if we don’t know that we have these weaknesses then there’s a good chance that the deal that we’re trying to negotiate just isn’t going to happen. Let’s see if we can uncover what our weaknesses are.