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The East African : Dec 12th 2015
40 The EastAfrican BUSINESS DECEMBER 12-18,2015 MANAG E R Wo≥k on you≥ emotional app≥oach befo≥e going fo≥ negotiations O ver the past decade, researchers have begun examining how specific emotions can affect the behaviour of negotiators. They have studied the differences between what happens when people simply feel these emotions and what happens when they also express them to the other party through words or actions. Over the course of a nego- tiation, people feel many emotions and with them come coping strategies. Some of there are discussed here. Avoiding Anxiety Anxiety is a state of distress in reaction to threatening stimuli, particularly novel situations that have the potential for undesirable outcomes. In experiments on negotiation, people experiencing anxiety made weaker first offers, responded more quickly to each move the counterpart made and were more likely to exit negotiations early. What happens when people make it clear to their counterparts that they’re nervous? Colleagues and I found that the nervous negotiators were less confident, more likely to consult others when making decisions and less able to discriminate between good and bad advice. This suggests that people who express anxiety are more likely to be taken advantage of in a negotiation. The takeaway: Try your ut- most to avoid feeling anxious. Train, practice, rehearse and keep sharpening your negotiating skills. Another useful strategy is to bring in an outside expert to handle the bargaining. Third-party negotiators will be less anxious because their skills are better honed, the process is routine for them; and they have a lower personal stake in the outcome. The costs of this approach are often more than offset by the more favourable terms that can be achieved. Managing anger When it comes to negotiat- ing, many people believe that anger can be a productive emotion. Anger, the thinking goes, makes one seem stronger, more powerful and better able to succeed. However, research shows that anger often harms the process by escalating conflict, biasing perceptions and making impasses more likely. It also reduces joint gains, decreases co-operation, intensifies competitive behavior and increases the rate at which offers are rejected. Angry negotiators may seek to harm or Kenya’s younge≥ employees want mo≥e By KEVIN MWANZA Special Correspondent KENYA’S JOB scene is quickly becoming an employee’s market as younger, more ambitious employees demand more from their employers, a new survey by auditing firm Deloite & Touche has found. The global auditing and con- sulting firm has for the past four years conducted an employee satisfaction poll, dubbed the Deloitte Best Company To Work For (BCTWF) survey, that ranks staff satisfaction in companies in different African countries. “The balance of power has shifted from employer to employee. This has been precipitated by the looming crisis in staff engagement and retention,” said Debbie Hollis, senior manager for human capital at Deloitte. Ms Hollis said that an increase COMMENTARY ALISON WOOD BROOKS “When a negotiation unfolds or concludes too quickly, participants tend to feel dissatisfied.” retaliate against their counterparts, even though a more cooperative approach may increase the value for both sides. Building rapport before, during and after a negotiation can reduce the odds that the other party will become angry. If you seek to frame the negotiation co-operatively — to make it clear that you’re seeking a win-win solution instead of trying to get the lion’s share of a fixed pie — you may limit the other party’s perception that an angry grab for value will work well. If the other party does become angry, apologise — you’re almost certainly better positioned tactically if you can reduce the hostility. Perhaps the most effective way to deal with anger in negotiations is to recognise that many negotiations don’t unfold all at once. So if tensions are flaring, ask for a break, cool off and regroup. Finally, you might consider reframing anger as sadness. Shared feelings of sadness can lead to cooperative concession making, whereas oppositional anger often leads to an impasse. Disappointment and regret Most complex negotiations will end with each side having achieved some of its goals and not others. As a negotia- tion winds down, it’s natural to look at the nascent agreement and feel more positive or negative about it. Disappointment can be a powerful force when it’s expressed near the end of the negotiation. It can encourage the other party to look critically at her own actions and consider whether she wants to change her position to reduce your negative feelings. When a negotiation unfolds or concludes too quickly, participants tend to feel dissatisfied. They wonder if they could or should have done more or pushed harder. The answer is to proceed slowly and deliberately. While the disappointment Anger, the thinking goes, makes one seem stronger, more powerful and better able to succeed. However, anger often harms the process tends to involve sadness about an outcome, someone feeling regret is looking at the course of actions that led to this unhappy outcome. Research shows that people are most likely to regret actions they didn’t take. One way to reduce the potential for regret is to ask questions without hesitation. Aim to come away from the negotiation with the sense that every avenue was explored. Skilled negotiators use an- other technique to minimise the odds of regret: The “post-settlement settlement.” This strategy recognises that tension often dissipates when there’s a deal on the table that makes everyone happy, and sometimes the best negotiating happens after that tension is released. Happiness and excitement There isn’t much research on how happiness and excitement affect negotiations, but intuition and experience suggest that expressing these emotions can have significant consequences. The “winner” in a deal should not gloat as the negotiations wrap up. Boasting can result in dire consequences, such as the other party’s invoking a right of rescission, seeking to renegotiate or taking punitive action the next time the parties need to strike a deal. Although it’s unpleasant to feel disappointed after a negotiation, it can be even worse to make your counterparts feel that way. The best negotiators achieve great deals for themselves but leave their opponents believing that they, too, did fabulously. Another danger of excitement is that it may increase your commitment to strategies or courses of action that you’d be better off abandoning. There are two lessons for ne- gotiators. First, be considerate: Do not let your excitement make your counterparts feel that they lost. Second, be sceptical: Do not let your excitement lead to overconfidence or an escalation of commitment with insufficient data. To be a better deal maker, conduct a thorough assessment of which emotions you are particularly prone to feel before, during and after negotiations, and use techniques to manage the expression of emotions as needed. Just as you prepare your tac- tical and strategic moves before a negotiation, you should invest effort in preparing your emotional approach. It will be time well spent. Alison Wood Brooks is an as- sistant professor at Harvard Business School. She teaches negotiation in the MBA and executive education curricula Kenya’s young employees are restless Picture:File in job change by employees had led to “talent wars evident in the increased head hunting and poaching for top talent.” Top dollar employees While employers, who before could hire and fire at will, have over the years had the pool of qualified and experienced employees dwindle, these employees are asking for top dollar and ready to move to the best paying firms. Sammy Onyango, chief execu- tive at Deloitte East Africa, said millennial employees are constantly challenging the status quo in the firms they work for and are always trying to express their ideas on how to run the business more efficiently. “The millennial think what businesses are doing is not what they should be doing,” Mr Onyango said. It is estimated that millennialls will have held about 10-14 jobs by the time they reach age 38. James Mworia, chief executive at Centum Investment, said the only thing that would make such employees stick to one company for long is a good corporate culture that utilise their talents well. “The important glue is the (company) culture. Making sure everyone in the company is a profit and loss item,” Mr Mworia said.
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