Whenever you find yourself at an impasse in a negotiation, you need to know how you got there. We need to admit that the approach we use to get ourselves out of a predicament with a counterpart must be vastly different from the approach that got us in hot water in the first place. For example, stop asking direct questions if it feels like you are hitting a brick wall.
In many cases, a negotiator’s greatest strength can also be their biggest weakness. To move stalled deals forward, you need to know your weaknesses as a negotiator. In this post, we’ll analyze the weaknesses that plague the Assertive Type.
Things to Be Aware Of: The Assertive
Assertives are very clear and straightforward. They cut the fat and get right down to it. This concise and direct nature is their biggest strength.
The downside of being clear and to the point is that Assertives can come across as forceful and aggressive. They believe what they have to say is more important than anything else, not realizing that approach often comes across as being very ego-driven and self-centered—even though Assertives generally don’t mean it that way.
Assertives think they are saving everyone time by “getting to the point”. Unfortunately, in the process, they inadvertently express that their counterpart’s thoughts come second. This can be exhausting for the other side and make it much harder for the Assertive to use Tactical Empathy™ as a catalyst to trust-based influence.
Change the Narrative by Showing Deference
Assertives need to assert themselves without coming across as aggressive. To do this, they must be deferential and let the other side state their case first.
Far too often, Assertives ignore influential emotional moments in favor of ensuring that their counterpart hears them loud and clear. Like Analysts, Assertives tend to skip over managing emotions in favor of what they consider to be a more direct approach.
Assertives need to remember that empathy saves time in the long run, even if it doesn’t feel that way in the short term. When you’re deferential and allow your counterpart to speak first, it triggers reciprocity. Once your counterpart has made their case, they will let you make yours. When we say deferential, we mean unrattled and genuinely intrigued by the interaction with your counterpart—which is a difficult balance for any negotiator.
What tends to happen when you make your case first and get to the point is that you end up pushing people away. With that approach, you will struggle to achieve your desired outcomes.
Don’t Be Impressed by Yourself
The enemy of thriving is arriving. (Lee Brower). Like everyone else, Assertives want to win. Unfortunately, winning doesn’t teach you as much as losing does.
When an Assertive gains something in a negotiation, they often feel like they’ve earned it. Whenever they win or feel like they’ve won, they attribute it to their skills. If a counterpart gives an Assertive $5, the Assertive will interpret that as a victory—even if the other side forked over the money because they wanted to do something nice.
Assertives need to stop being impressed by their own actions and understand that winning doesn’t necessarily mean they’ve earned it. In every negotiation, your counterpart is hiding something. If you lead the conversation and don’t let the other side speak, there’s no chance of uncovering any Black Swans.
Overcome Your Weaknesses as a Negotiator
The first step in taking your negotiation skills to the next level is knowing what type of negotiator you are, including your strengths, weaknesses, and natural tendencies. To improve, you need to become aware of these things.
As you begin working on your weaknesses, use affirmations to consistently remind yourself that you will show deference and let the other side lead. After all, they have information they want to share, and you need to hear it. They’re hiding something, so what sense does it make to step in and reveal all of your cards up front?
To learn more about your weaknesses as a negotiator—and what makes Accommodators and Analysts tick—download our free guide, Three Negotiator Types.