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Don’t get ‘hooked’ on the praise of others

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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)

105 Self-esteem, other esteem

We all have a deep craving for self-esteem – to feel good about ourselves. But not everyone takes the time and does the work required to develop healthy self-esteem. A great negotiator recognises both self-esteem and esteeming others as essential to the process of negotiation.

There are two primary sources of esteem – that which derives from us and that which derives from others. Self-esteem is your appreciation of who you are based on your virtues, values, talents, and gifts; on what you stand for and embody; on what you dream and achieve; and on how you perform and behave, especially when no one is watching you. Real self-esteem can only be given to and earned by you. That’s why it’s called self-esteem! Self-esteem or self-recognition, self-appreciation, and self-honouring makes us comfortable in our own skin and enables us to deal with others and life with confidence and strength.

To esteem others is to grant them similar recognition, appreciation, and honour. You can communicate esteem directly through expressions of gratitude, acknowledgement or praise, or even positive eye contact, a nod, or a smile. Esteem is an important lubricant in intimate, social, and business relations. Esteem given and received boosts the self-esteem of both parties. It releases mood-lifting endorphins into the bloodstream and unites giver and receiver in a momentary bond of common affection. But esteem from others can be fickle and mixed with ulterior motives and selfish needs. So, if your sense of your own value and importance depends on the esteem of others, your self-esteem will be weak and unstable; it will rise and fall based on the arbitrary, fickle, unpredictable moods and behaviour of others.

The esteem we give others can be equally compromised or capricious. We are each capable to some degree of altruism and generosity. But much of what we do overtly, covertly, or unconsciously benefits us. Often particular words and actions, especially our expressions of praise, acknowledgment, and gratitude, and our apparent altruism or generosity, serve our own interests, self-image, and self-esteem. This is not a bad thing, nor something to be cynical about. It is simply human nature.

Subtle self-seeking motives often operate hidden behind common social masks and gestures, especially in a negotiation. Negotiators with healthy self-esteem still strive to operate ethically and do what is right for all concerned. Their healthy self-esteem includes an abundance mentality and a spirit of service that implies “there is plenty for everyone; let me help you get what you want or need”.

Self-esteem is often confused with egotistic pride. But, in reality, they are polar opposites. Pride is measured against other people’s achievements, whereas self-esteem is measured against a higher yardstick of ideals and virtues to which good people of every age have aspired. Thus healthy self-esteem doesn’t rise or fall based on the outcome of any particular negotiation or deal. Because healthy self-esteem is secure and self-confident, it can take feedback and criticism without collapsing or reacting defensively and can adjust accordingly for further self-improvement.

Negotiators with strong, healthy self-esteem don’t need praise, recognition, and acknowledgment from others to feel good about themselves. They don’t need the approval or esteem of others in order to act with confidence and authority. Their confidence, authority, and self-esteem come from living and acting consistently on the basis of moral or ethical principles, and from the diligent cultivation of their talents and skills. Their self-esteem is a well of strength and good will that enables them to support, inspire, empower, and give esteem to others. And this makes them natural leaders and persuaders in their sphere of influence.


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