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Why we follow the leader

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Negotiation touches every part of our lives. Relationships in business and in our personal lives are negotiated. And the skills to do it effectively can often mean the difference between getting what you want or losing out. You don’t get what you deserve, you get what you negotiate!

In the first section of the book, How to be a Great Negotiator, written by property economist, investor and developer Neville Berkowitz, the characteristic traits of a great negotiator are explored in short, bite-sized nuggets of advice.

Over the next few months, we will bring you the traits needed to succeed at the art of negotiating.

(Courtesy of PersonalEmpowerment.co)

68 Leadership

The world is made up of a vast majority of followers and bystanders who haven’t developed or discovered their own power. Then is a small percentage of genuine leaders whose lives and accomplishments influence, guide, and inspire others to do things they would not think or dare to do on their own. Most people want to be led on a true path toward a meaningful goal. And many of them look for knowledgeable, competent leaders who can help them find such a path and achieve their goal.

Believe it or not, in most negotiations, the other party also wants to be guided and inspired by a genuine leader who is knowledgeable, competent, has real authentic power and authority, and who can help them make the best possible decision in the negotiation.

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Leadership is a powerful force in a negotiation. It channels influence, confidence, and integrity of character into decisive authority. It positively directs and motivates other people who may have conflicting views and

goals, and unites them in a common understanding and purpose. It shapes unfolding events toward desired outcomes. Leadership is power and influence harnessed to a vision, and effectively used for a greater good.

Great negotiators exercise leadership with finesse, without being arrogant, pushy, or controlling. They know that trying to direct or control a negotiation by force of will create resistance, resentment, and disharmony, especially where the other party doesn’t share their views or acknowledge their authority. They know leadership isn’t about controlling the other party, but rather about influencing the other party and the course of the negotiation through their integrity of character, their clear grasp of the matter under negotiation, and their skills as a negotiator.

Authentic leadership isn’t granted automatically with an official title or bestowed with a promotion. When it comes to leadership, you either have it or you don’t. But, as with other essential qualities of a great negotiator, leadership can be developed. Practicing the fundamental principles and values presented in this book provides the moral authority that is the necessary foundation of real leadership.

No more lemmingsblind leading the blind

The old paradigm of leadership in which a powerful autocratic personality aggressively directs and controls others may be appropriate in the military, but it is rarely appropriate or fully effective in the modern world. In this authoritarian model, the leader dictates decisions, enforces procedures,  and  treats  subordinates  as inferiors – automatons whose job is to hear and obey but not to think independently or be heard. The famous poetic line “Ours is not to reason why, ours is but to do or die,” sums up the role of subordinates in this model. This model creates resistance, resentment, individual and group disharmony, and an unhealthy and often unproductive work environment.

Enter the true leader<a href="http://www.shutterstock.com/gallery-961084p1.html?cr=00&pl=edit-00">Grobler du Preez</a> / <a href="http://www.shutterstock.com/editorial?cr=00&pl=edit-00">Shutterstock.com</a>

Great negotiators know that the way leadership is exercised determines the quality of interpersonal relations, and the tenor and productivity of the negotiation. They use presence, persuasion, intelligence, empathy, and subtle skills and tactics to inspire, unite, motivate, and bring out the best in the other party. Such leadership allows them to assemble a group of individuals who are focused and disciplined, who know each other’s strengths and weaknesses, who can play as a team instead of as independent heroes looking for a shot at the title, or drones who lack initiative and avoid responsibility.

Great negotiators don’t confuse authority with being adversarial and overly assertive. They don’t view critical feedback or differing points of view as insubordination or disrespect. They keep their emotions under control and remain civil when things get heated or confrontational, and they “never use a cannon to kill an ant”. They look for the nuances of process and try to discern the emotional motives, the “why,” motivating the other party.

They focus as much on understanding as on winning; they keep the other party’s interests and feelings in mind as they try to achieve their primary objectives. And, finally, they aren’t so eager to be liked that they fail to properly exercise their leadership.

Effective leaders are willing to take bold actions and calculated risks; to accept the consequences of their choices when things don’t work out; to acknowledge and learn from their mistakes; and to keep sticking their necks out to get results. True leadership is as much about modelling effective and impeccable behavior as it is about making decisions, giving orders, and exercising authority over others. Leaders who lead by example inspire and motivate others to dig deeper, rise to the occasion in challenging circumstances, and embody leadership in their own sphere. This leadership style develops the mystique of charisma that enables the leader to be respected and, possibly, even revered. Nelson Mandela was a great example of such a leader.


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