Negotiate better: how to increase your leadership skills

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People don’t realize that they are still negotiating. This is especially true for those in leadership positions. One way to improve your leadership skills is to negotiate better. And this article provides insight into how to do it – increase your leadership skills by improving your negotiation.

Leadership skills of a good negotiator

The difference between a good leader with heightened negotiation skills and one that isn’t as good is how you initiate the negotiation process. And here are some traits and practices of a good negotiator.

Plan the negotiations

Before formal trading begins, a good leader determines the strategies they will use to achieve their goals. As part of this reflection, they take into account:

What-If Scenarios

Addressing what-if scenarios involves creating contingencies for possible occurrences that may occur during the negotiation. The more prepared a negotiator is for them, the better the chance of achieving a solid outcome.

Know when to make offers and counter-offers

An offer is enhanced or deflated depending on when a leader makes it. To increase the likelihood of someone accepting an offer, make it when you have more power than the other person.

Power is perceptual. So if you think you are in control of a situation and the other party agrees with you, that’s power. The reverse is also true.

So just because you’re in a leadership role doesn’t mean you’ll be in a leadership position at some point in a negotiation. And that’s the reasoning behind knowing when to make offers/counter-offers.

Control emotions

Suffice it to say that a leader should always keep their emotions in check. This increases the perception of their leadership skills. And emotional control signals to people that they cannot easily disrupt a leader through mental manipulation.

Therefore, do not carry mental baggage in a negotiation. It will only tend to diminish your reasoning skills. To better control your emotions, consider the points of contention that may arise during the negotiation and imitate the feelings you might feel.

From there, figure out how you might deal with those emotions by countering them. Remember that a cool head is more likely to negotiate better and achieve the desired outcome.

Control the environment

Another aspect of leadership in negotiations is controlling the environment. By controlling, I mean managing one’s emotions and governing the feelings of others in the place as well.

The leader can control the environment, the timing of the procedure, and the placement of others during the procedure. Additional control can occur by defining the agenda of items discussed and when this occurs. This will allow the leader greater control.

The value of reading body language in negotiations

A good leader is aware of body language and non-verbal gestures that add or subtract from someone’s offering or meaning.

To enrich your leadership skills, observe:

hand gestures

Hand gestures and their timing provide insight into the thought process one has engaged in. For example, if the other negotiator has displayed little hand movement before an offer (his or yours) and then shows more or less animated gestures of his last activity, the proposal is the source behind his actions.

Once you observe the movement of the hand back and forth – slowing down or speeding up – look for the cause that stimulated this action. There will be a point to concentrate on. And you can use this information to negotiate better and increase your leadership skills.

Tone and intonation of voice

A good leader is aware of the differences between tone of voice and intonation. Intonation is more about a person’s speech pattern – slow, moderate, fast. And tone is the displayed emphasis that can alter the meaning of what is said (for example, “I DID do not do it ! “).

To enrich your leadership skills, be aware of when someone’s tone changes in their oral questions or statements. And pay attention to what prompted the change. In some cases, someone’s words may seem so obvious that they are hidden. So, also be aware of the hidden meanings.

Change physical position

Everyone’s body is constantly trying to stay in a state of comfort. And when someone’s body is out of that state, they exhibit behavior in an attempt to restore their body to that state.

So when a person starts fidgeting, rubbing their arms/hands, touching their face, etc., they may show signs of being unwell.

Never overlook someone’s body language and non-verbal cues. By noticing such signs, you can gain insight into what someone thinks of a particular offer you made or what the individual feels about their situation. There will be a wealth of hidden ideas to glean from this, which you can use to increase your leadership skills.


People will follow a leader if they believe that person has good intentions and good leadership skills. To increase the perception of your good leadership abilities, you must become a better negotiator. And you can achieve this by using the information presented in this article. It will improve your communications and your relationships with others, and it will also increase the perception of you as a good leader.

Remember, you are still negotiating!

Greg Williams, “the master negotiator and body language expert,” is a Harvard-trained negotiator with a wealth of over 30 years of experience in negotiating and reading body language. Williams has taught negotiation and body language reading techniques to people all over the world. He is an accomplished author, speaker, trainer and globally recognized thought leader on negotiating and reading body language.

Global Gurus double-ranked Williams 8th in Negotiation and 17th in Body Language in the world. He is also a member of the famous Marshall Goldsmith 100 coaches – people who coach people such as Serena Williams, Richard Branson and other well-known and recognized public figures around the world. Greg Williams is a TV contributor, has written seven books on negotiations and reading body language and is currently writing Number 8.

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