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What is your negotiation style?

According to the Thomas Kilmann model of conflict styles, people have 5 different communication styles and these tend to correlate well in negotiation. Based on our own experiences, internal dialogues and interpretations we show up and react differently in our negotiations. From these patterns of communication, five distinct negotiation styles have emerged: competing, collaborating, compromising, accommodating, and avoiding. When we negotiate, we exhibit a tendency for a particular style. Expert negotiators know how to use their primary negotiation style to their advantage and how to recognise the style of others. Awareness of these styles will help you in your journey to improving your negotiation skills. 

In this next series, we will take look at these 5 styles. 

1. Competing – Win/Lose

A competitive negotiation style follows the model of “I win, you lose.” Competitive negotiators tend to go all out to get the deal closed – even if it comes at the expense of another person or entity. They have scant regard for the other parties and tend to have a calculated approach to achieving results. They are focused on achieving short-term goals quickly. They are motivated by the feeling of winning at all costs. This attitude can burn relationships and blind them to bigger, better outcomes.

Competitive negotiators tend to show up ready for a battle and will use any tool to try and intimidate their counterparts and increase their chances of winning. For short-term, one-off distributive types of negotiation, this style can work well. You will find these styles prevalent in highly competitive industries. Although in today’s interconnected world, it may not always be in one’s favour to build a reputation as an overly competitive negotiator. 

Business relationships might break, and a company’s reputation may tarnish if a negotiation style is too competitive and crosses the line into bullying. If you are a competitive negotiator, remember. business is as much about building strong relationships as it is about closing deals.

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