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How to resolve conflict in negotiation

by John Saunders
19th Nov 19 10:24 am

For businesses to remain functional, and thrive, negotiation is vital. It is how people arrive at agreements. From deciding who gets hired, what supplier to use, venue for events, or what strategies to employ, negotiation can never be taken out of the business and corporate world. Even at the home front, negotiations determine how things turn out, from budgeting to probably the number of children and pets allowed.

Agreeing to work with another party on a project is the first sign of a negotiation going well. Yet, many people have challenges discussing the terms of a contract with others. For this reason, the negotiation society comes up with innovative ways to manage the negotiation procedure. On some occasions, there is a clash of interest, and the talk reaches a stalemate. Knowing the best practices to adopt can help one achieve the goals targeted.  The first step, however, is identifying the causes of the conflict.

  • Conflicts can arise from unclear responsibilities and roles: When striking a bargain, there may be overlapping responsibilities or vague directives. Identify who does what, and how they affect the contract. When unclear, ask questions.
  • Difference in principles and attitude: We all have different principles that guide our actions. Sometimes, they are not in tandem with the beliefs of others. While they form the core of some people’s opinions and desires, they may serve as a deal-breaker to others. If two of these dissimilar value-oriented people have to strike a deal, they may not make a headway.
  • Ineffective Communication: Sometimes, people know what they want, but cannot communicate it clearly to others. This can result in a strain on the negotiation process. It may even be a misunderstanding on the part of the listener. Whichever be the case, communication can either make or mar the bargaining process.
  • Lack of equity in reward system: When the terms of the deal do not favor one party, it may stall the agreement or make the affected party loose commitment to seeing the deal through. The reasons are not far-fetched; nobody wants to be on the losing end of a bargain.
  • Unnecessary delay caused by one party: If one party is not showing the commitment to push the contract, or is slowing down progress for unclear reasons, the negotiation may end up as a conflict. Delays usually result from vague instructions, lack of interest, and lack of resources or personal differences.

People respond to conflicts differently. For some, they become aggressive, wanting to push their interests alone, some become destabilized and back out, while others find ways to manage the situation to get the best possible outcome. However, the best way to handle the situation is to remain calm and proactive. The following tips will put you in control of conflicts when next they arise in your negotiation.

  • Seek to understand the situation: Instead of remaining resolute and holding on to one’s interests, try to view things from the perspective of others. Identify what exactly is going on and check the facts to ascertain the implications of every action.
  • Listen Attentively: The best way to get more out of counterparts is to pay a listening ear to them, throughout the negotiation process.
  • Understand the kind of negotiator you are dealing with: There are different types of negotiators, and not knowing which you are dealing with can dampen the relationship. When you know which strategy your counterpart is employing, you can come up with counterbalancing tactics to get them on the same page.
  • Seek Partnership: Instead of having the views of both parties, flying off at a tangent, devise means to align goals through making concessions and offering more value. When one party sees the genuine interest of the other party, it helps settle ruffled feathers in the conversation.

Negotiation is an inevitable part of interactions with people. It may, however, lead to conflicts, but with the right measures and strategy, one can surmount the challenges of disagreements and get the deals settled.

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