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Successful Negotiation in Diverse Teams

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Diverse Team

Successful negotiation in the face of disagreement requires well-developed communication skills and you enter a whole new and bigger arena when you operate from a place of different cultural meaning making.

Erin Meyer’s HBR article “Getting Si, Ja, Oui, Hai, and Da” highlights the intricacies of cross-cultural negotiation. Interestingly enough, the article assumes that everyone is aware of their own communication style. What I am finding in my research and my work with executives business leaders is that many are not aware of their own communication and negotiation style. They do what they learned and what worked for them in specific settings and they are surprised when what worked in one arena is not met with success in another. You don’t even have to cross international borders and add a layer of linguistic challenges. Just attend a virtual team meeting with persons from New Jersey, Idaho, California, and Southern Virginia and you may witness a “Great Disintegration” happening, when team members champion different approaches and are trying to work towards a solution to an issue in which they are all stakeholders.

My work as a leadership coach starts with self-awareness and works from the inside out:

  • Who am I as a leader?
  • What are my values and beliefs?
  • How do they fit with the values and beliefs of the people I interact with?
  • What results do I want to achieve and how may I have to adjust my communication style to bring others into the conversation and have them be heard?
  • How do I need to listen so I can truly hear what the other is saying?
  • How do I communicate that I understand their concern and how do I then invite them to work towards an integrated solution?
  • Am I unbiased enough to lead this discussion or should a more neutral person facilitate the conversation?
  • Am I really asking for input and feedback or has the solution already been identified and am just trying to create buy-in but the issue is not open for co-creating a different approach in dealing with the issue? (Your team will quickly see through a “fake negotiation” and this approach usually backfires with behind-your-back talk, distrust and disengagement.)

When dealing with diverse teams, creating shared meaning is crucial and the explicit confirmation of a shared understanding of conditions of satisfaction is an important component of successful negotiations with diverse teams.

Curious to learn more? Let’s talk!



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