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Negotiation Tips for Leaders

Feb 15, 2023
Jamie Leddin shares pointers on being a great negotiator

By Arial Starks

Jamie Leddin

As a leader in the business world, you will be faced with situations at any and every stage of your career trajectory where you will need to advocate for yourself and others. Whether you are negotiating something simple like how many days you would like to work in the office, or something more tedious like the details of a contract, you will undoubtedly negotiate frequently as a leader. Ahead of her short program, Vanderbilt Executive Education Lecturer Jamie Leddin shares some negotiation tips for leaders looking to grow in their skills. 

Always be prepared to negotiate.

Whether you are in upper management or are new to a leadership position, you should be privy to the idea that you will be negotiating constantly. If you are uncomfortable negotiating or have very little experience doing so, Leddin says the most important thing you can do is be prepared. 

“Negotiation is a learned skill and one that we need to continuously practice to get better at doing,” Leddin said. “Practice is an essential part of negotiation preparation.” 

Leddin adds that good preparation involves thinking about the interests of the other side(s) and preparing for how you will react to those interests. 

Negotiate from abundance.

When entering a negotiation with another party or parties, the objective is to come to some sort of middle ground or agreement between all sides. By having an abundance mindset and considering the fact that negotiation does not have to result in one person ‘winning’ and another ‘losing,’ you improve your chances of gaining what it is you need. 

“If your goal is to come to an agreement with whoever you’re negotiating with, then I believe it is important to consider all available options,” Leddin said.  “Always ask yourself ‘what else is on the table,’ don’t just focus on the obvious.”

Keep your professional reputation in mind when negotiating.

There are 5 different styles of negotiation: accommodating, avoiding, collaborating, competing, and compromising. While these styles are different, they can all yield positive results. Leddin says leaders must figure out what is most important to them and the other side before entering any negotiation. Leaders should consider the fact that they may not always walk away with everything they want, but it is essential to act fairly and equitably in order to protect their professional reputation.

“Sometimes we win the negotiation, but we destroy the relationship with the person or organization involved. For example, you may get the salary, bonus, or deal that you wanted, but in the process of going after that desired outcome you destroy a relationship with the other side and they may not want to work with you again.” 

Register for the Negotiation Skills for Managers short program led by Jamie Leddin today, or learn more about Vanderbilt’s other upcoming Executive Education Short Programs.  

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