Negotiating with a bully can be tough. If you find yourself in such an unfortunate position, utilize the following insights to negotiate more effectively and you’ll be able to adeptly combat his efforts.
- Seek leverage – A bully feels empowered when confronting someone that he perceives as being weaker than himself. To shift the perspective of power, align yourself with those that can give you the perception of more strength.
- Understand a bully’s perspective – You should always understand a person’s needs when you negotiate with them. That will be the driving source of their motivation, which will determine how they act. By understanding a negotiator’s need(s), you’ll have insight as to what to offer to assuage his need(s). That’s not to say you have to succumb to the need, it’s to say, the better you understand it, the more insight you have to combat it.
- Observe the bully’s temperament – Take note of what triggers a bully to employ bullying tactics. Take note also of when such tactics are employed. Does he display a particular temperament that says, look at me, give me more value and recognition for who I am? If so and it’s appropriate, feed the beast that lies within him and note how he responds. The insight gained from such observation will give you insight as to the best time(s) and ways to negotiate with him.
- Watch the tactics a bully uses to foster intimidation. When a bully attempts to intimidate you, does he use the ‘good cop, bad cop’ scenario, or is there another tactic(s) that he employs (i.e. I’m just pushing you to see how far you’ll let me go)? Does he mix bullying tactics? If so, note those. All of that information will give you the needed insight to combat him.
- Seek ways to disrupt/interrupt the bully’s pattern. Once you’ve gleaned insight as to why a bully is attempting to intimidate you, and the timing of his efforts, you can better position yourself to address the potential of an onslaught. Thus, you can avert the onslaught before it occurs by redirecting the bully’s effort to employ that tactic.
- Ask for the bully’s perspective about your perception of him being aggressive. By doing so, you may get him to recognize how he’s projecting himself. If it’s unintentional he may alter his persona. That would be a win-win for both of you because the negotiation should flow easier.
- Understand the negotiation style of a perceived bully. In some cases, someone that you perceive to be a negotiation bully may be someone that has a ‘closed’ style of negotiating (i.e. my way or the highway, tough, in order for me to win you have to lose). If you identify a negotiator as possessing this style of negotiation, you can attempt to get him to modify his persona by reflecting his actions (i.e. adopting a ‘closed’ style of negotiating). Just be mindful of where such a tactic might lead and be prepared to adopt another course of action if such is required.
In any negotiation, you have to know the personality style and type of person you’re negotiating against. If you are truly negotiating with a bully, the insights above will give you tools to enhance your negotiation efforts. Use them… and everything will be right with the world.
Remember, you’re always negotiating!