37.5 NEGOTIATION IN LEADERSHIP, fan al hiwaar fi al qiyadat

By Professor Omar Hasan Kasule Sr.


Daily life, public or private, revolves around negotiating with others. The Qur’an has recorded many instances of discussion in the form of negotiations always emphasizing the need for discussion in a good way. Negotiation is necessary to protect your interests, and get as much advantage as possible without entering into costly and bruising confrontations. Most conflicts can be resolved through negotiation. Good negotiation turns confrontation into cooperation. Physicians must be able to negotiate with their patients and relative to agree on a treatment plan otherwise a lot of conflicts and misunderstandings will occur. Negotiation skills can be learned. Negotiations can be win-win in which each party leaves satisfied or win-lose in which one party leaves with a feeling of winning and the other leaves with a feeling of having lost. A win-win outcome is the best in a negotiation. It ensures that each party gets the maximum it can from the transaction, part as friends who can work together again. Both objectives and relations must be considered. Future relationships may be lost by aggressive pursuit of objectives.



Negotiating is strategy. Never enter a negotiation unless you have a well worked out strategy and a clear objective. A negotiator must know the bottom-line from the beginning and must work out the worst-case scenario. A key to good negotiation is to be able to understand the other party's negotiation strategy and to acknowledge its strong and valid points. Understanding does not imply acceptance but goes a long way toward a win-win outcome. It is better to use persuasion ratherb than power. It is better to warn than to threaten. Provocations should be avoided. A win-lose formula in negotiations can work only if future relationships do not matter. Win-lose situations often end up as lose-lose to the detriment of both parties. It is advisable aim at a win-win outcome even if you can get away with a win-lose outcome. Negotiations should not wander away from rationality. Every negotiation involves making concessions and compromises. Privacy, patience, and time are needed for success of negotiations. Simultaneous negotiation over several issues at the same time increases the possibility of a compromise. Brinkmanship and bluffs lead to disaster in most negotiating situations.



Aggressive tactics are pressure tactics and intimidation.  Friendly tactics are the kid-glove and the good-guy/bad-guy combination. Evasive tactics are hiding behind an invisible authority, stone walling, and deception. Provocative tactics are attempts to erode confidence, provoking emotions, anger, and personal attacks. Effective approaches consist of being aware of risks, an incremental approach, follow-up and implementation.



The actual negotiation session should be planned as much as possible. Never leave anything to chance. Background information must be collected. A negotiating strategy must be adopted. A negotiation session has the following main stages: setting the agenda, opening the negotiations, demands and offers, narrowing differences between the parties, final bargaining, persuading the other party to cross the last hurdle to agreement, and implementation of the negotiated deal. Think about implementation of negotiated deal during the negotiation. Minimize risks in the deal.



The following are barriers to successful negotiations: a negative attitude to negotiations, poor communication skills, lack of knowledge, lack of confidence in negotiations, fear of confrontation, being emotional and not being objective, being reactive, treating the other party as adversaries who must lose, and aggressive behavior. Deadlocked negotiations are natural because there are issues that are not negotiable. Deadlocks should be anticipated and contingency plans should be made. If it is in your interests to continue the negotiations, devise ways and means of getting around a dead-lock. Stay calm and keep negotiating. You have to change the rules of the game or reframe issues. Consider all alternatives and look for options. Utilize maximum flexibility but never lose sight of the final goals and your permanent interests.

(c) Professor Omar Hasan Kasule Sr. 2004