It is not uncommon for today’s leaders to find themselves coaching their staff negotiate project terms or even, other department heads. How are these leaders successful? They focus on finding common ground rather than areas of conflict between all parties. They decrease feelings of opposition by pointing out areas where everyone is already in agreement, achieving ultimate success for all.
Successful negotiations are seldom impulsive. Edwin Friedman, a current’ challenges’ thinker, states, “Leadership through differentiation is the capacity of a leader to remain connected to followers while being separate enough to make the tough decisions that must be made. It has to do with seeing things others don’t see, persevering when others resist your leadership, being comfortable alone and remaining calm while those around you are anxious”.
These same leaders practice a form of emotional regulation. Emotional regulation is the process of distinguishing, organizing, and resolving situations that allow your emotions to be a useful and productive element of individual reasoning abilities. To “regulate” an emotion does not mean you ignore it or intensify it. Many researchers define emotional regulation as the ability to augment or reduce emotions when necessary. Other researchers use a broader definition of emotional regulation. These researchers see emotion regulation as an expansive set of skills and capacities that help keep the emotional system from being overwhelmed and healthy. It’s also in use with first responders in crisis and disaster aid. They are given training in emotional regulation so they can be calmly operational as the emergency personnel for assistance along with their respective defined responsibilities.
Use any of these techniques when you need to assist negotiations for a successful outcome:
• These leaders discuss the key issues in order of priority. They have a clear idea of what the top two or three key issues are. Start with the most important issues and proceed to those that matter less. If you can reach agreement on the most important things, the lesser issues will most be easier to resolve.
• They know to verify evidence for ideas or specific information regarding the desired outcomes. When verifying information, it is important to state what authorities or experts state is true, and to use a principle or facts to support the information.
• They accept the conditions of the situation all parties are in now. Valuable energy will be lost for effective action if you, or others, let the situation dissolve into uncontrollable angry outbursts or outraged finger pointing. We are making a distinct difference here of removing yourself or others from immediate harm such as, escaping burning buildings or eminent drowning. Rapid actions here could save lives.
• They practice mindfulness. They are acutely aware of the present moment and who else may be with them at that time, inducing a calmness for fair treatment of all. Often, attachment to past events and worry over the future removes us from the present moment, enough that you begin to feel disconnected from life. Remember that emotional experiences are transitory. Help others step back from the circumstances for a few moments becoming an inquisitive observer of the present incident. Many who have survived terrible car accidents report that they rose above all the Para-medic activity and loud noise to achieve a state of quietness. In many cases, this state allowed their blood pressure to stabilize, preserving their life.
• They know where the ‘trigger points’ are. These are the areas where core values can be assaulted, either by action to your person or offensive language directed to others. When you know what triggers you, or others to rage, utter resentment, or response to antagonism, you can better control how you will react. Recognize that you have a choice between your emotional response and knee-jerk reactions. To quote the author and poet, Maya Angelou, ” I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” How will others feel after your assistance in this situation? Will you regret or feel embarrassed over what you did in a specific incident?
• There may come a time when a leader discovers that problems have surfaced when conducting a instructional session or meeting discussion with their employees. It may be an initial plan to tape and transcribe at least a 5- or 10-minute interactive question and answer process. Then have another leader or peer critique the session and suggest ways to improve upon the question and answer process