There are 5 types of negotiators. Knowing which one you are will assist you with your self-awareness, which will ultimately help you see where you may be falling short of your desired negotiating outcomes. A benefit of knowing your negotiator type is that you will be able to see who you are facing on the other side of the table more clearly, so to speak. As you read through these, ask yourself which types best reflect your approach. Note that you likely have more than one type depending on any given negotiation that you are facing.
Ultimately there is one type that we should all work to achieve!
Why not kick off with the most challenging negotiator type? The avoider is precisely that. This type can be neutral, but the key is to watch for the abdication of responsibility. Perhaps by dodging questions, waiting for others to reply, postponing meetings and even skipping meetings altogether. This type is less relational and, as you may imagine, the least productive and assertive type of our types of negotiators.
As you may imagine, this type has a higher propensity to “split the difference.” Note that this type may not actually be happy or comfortable with what they have done. The good news for this type (and all of the others, for that matter) is that increased self-awareness will better clarify your needs and wants while also holding to what necessary outcomes need to be achieved. The compromiser is more focused on a relationship than the Avoider, for instance. This type needs to be cognizant of not giving up too much ground without reciprocation.
The accommodator type places a priority on the relationship and not the outcome. The accommodator is excellent at smoothing over issues. They excel at building rapport. This type seeks to co-operate well with the other party. This type will likely say “okay” early on, perhaps even “sweeten the deal” for the other party.
As you can imagine, this type gets things done with a high degree of assertiveness. In the most extreme of cases, this type may be aggressive, demanding and out to “win” at all costs. This type may be looking out for their own interest versus a “win-win.” The Competitor is the least focused of the types when it comes to the relationship; they are end goal-driven. With this in mind, this is the least co-operative type.
The Collaborator is the most relational and substance driven. The most effective negotiators are found in this type. Excellent communications skills with a level of honesty that stands out as good leadership. Not only can they get a deal completed in the present, but this type has also managed the relationship well, which ensures an ability to work together again. This type is the most self-aware of the types. They can see whom they are negotiating with, and they find creative solutions and ways of meeting others’ needs while achieving their substantive goals. All parties typically walk away from this negation, believing that things went well.
The ultimate goal is to be a Collaborator—no two ways around it. This type gets deals done. They build excellent relationships that beget more opportunities in the future.
Can You Change Your Negotiation Type?
One word: YES! Yes, you can. The key to changing your type is self-awareness as well as fully understanding your needs and wants. Having a collaborative approach will do wonders in your career, whether that is negotiating for more salary, mergers and acquisitions, sales, or simply wishing to convey your opinion in a meeting. Maybe you want to negotiate more vacation time. It’s possible to make huge negotiation improvements!