Don't Burn Relationships: Be Tough on the Terms, Warm on the People

In business, like in life, effective negotiation is key. There’s a time and a place for tough bargaining—but being aggressive and pushy isn’t always the best approach. While it was once commonplace to “wear your negotiation jacket” and adopt rejecting and dismissive behaviors, times have changed. Nowadays, even in transactional negotiations like hard bargaining, it’s important to negotiate with credibility and respect. This means being tough on the terms and warm on the people.

The Benefits of a Negotiating from a Position of Credibility & Respect

Negotiating from a position of credibility and respect has several advantages. First and foremost, it shows that you care about getting an outcome that works for both parties involved—and that you understand how to get there without resorting to threats or bullying tactics. That kind of behavior can not only sour relationships but also makes it difficult (if not impossible) to reach an agreeable solution.

Another benefit of negotiating from a position of credibility and respect is that it allows you to build trust with the other party involved in the negotiation process. When someone trusts you, they are more likely to be open to compromising and engaging in meaningful dialogue about potential solutions. This gives everyone involved more room to maneuver when working toward an agreement; plus, it helps ensure that any outcomes reached are actually achievable by both parties.

Be tough on the terms and warm on the people

Finally, it helps create an environment where everyone feels comfortable speaking up about their ideas or concerns—which can ultimately lead to better outcomes for all involved by giving each side a chance to really think through any potential solutions before making decisions or signing contracts. It fosters creative problem-solving which is often essential during the negotiation process since coming up with mutually beneficial agreements can often require out-of-the-box thinking!

Understand Your Power Dynamics 

When it comes to negotiating with others in a respectful manner, understanding your power dynamics is key. Knowing where both parties stand—who has more power or leverage in the negotiation—is essential so as not to appear exploitative or manipulative during discussions. It's important to remember that while being powerful can help us reach our goals faster, it also carries certain responsibilities such as ensuring reasonable access to resources, respecting boundaries, and valuing relationships.  

Balance Firmness & Flexibility 

When negotiating in this new age, it is important to find a balance between firmness and flexibility when interacting with others. While having conviction about what you want out of a negotiation is beneficial, being open-minded to different ideas from other parties involved is just as crucial for reaching an agreement in which everyone feels satisfied. A successful negotiator needs to know when to hold their ground on an issue as well as when backing down might be mutually beneficial for both sides of the table.       


Ultimately, negotiating from a position of credibility and respect is key if you want successful outcomes during your negotiations. Not only does this approach foster trust between parties which can help lead to better agreements overall; but it also creates an environment where everyone feels comfortable speaking up about their concerns without fear of retribution or hostility. So next time you find yourself engaged in negotiations, remember: be tough on the terms but warm on the people! Doing so will ensure everyone walks away satisfied.

Aligned DEMYSTIFIES what successful negotiation looks like