Every day HHMC deals with owners and managers in the recruitment industry. We see our clients in situations that are important and in situations that can be stressful. Those that shine tend to bring their strengths as recruitment consultants and business leaders to the fore, and use their emotional intelligence to positively contribute to the situation.
This is not a time to hide the characteristics that have made you successful. Emotional intelligence should be an “always on” capability but the issues of dealing with personally important transactions, like buying or selling a business, often make the participants adopt self-centred and unrealistic positions.
Negotiating any deal, any outcome, is a compromise where each party’s risks and rewards are compromised to reach middle ground. It is often said that if both parties walk away slightly disappointed then an appropriate solution has been reached.
To negotiate there needs to be empathy for the other party’s position. Most of us are not trained to be confrontational. We are seeking middle ground. We are investigating if a deal can be done that is respectful of each party’s requirements and circumstances; of each party’s risk and rewards. If a deal can’t be done, then that outcome needs to be reached with professionalism, dignity and speed.
That cannot be achieved if you cannot stand in the other party’s shoes. I’ll refrain from quoting Bob Dylan’s “Positively 4th Street”, but many of our potential deals are killed because of a lack of emotional intelligence, a lack of empathy for the other party, and an inability to understand risks and rewards from a different position.
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There is plenty of literature to show that the best leaders in any endeavour have high Emotional Intelligence and use this capability to understand and lead their staff.
Daniel Goldman is well known for his study of leadership and defines emotional intelligence as the capacity for recognizing and managing our own feelings and for recognizing and managing emotions well in our relationships with others.
There is also plenty of literature to show that emotional intelligence is a key criteria for a successful recruitment career. It can predict the way a potential employee will interact with others around them, including fellow employees, peers and customers. The intrinsic value of this to a company is huge. Many recruitment organisations put their consultants through training to ensure this is well understood when assessing candidates for clients.
There are a number of elements of Emotional Intelligence. I have chosen to focus on empathy. For leaders, having empathy is critical to managing a successful team or organisation. If you want to earn the respect and loyalty of your team, then show them you care by being empathic.
Leaders with empathy have the ability to put themselves in someone else's situation. They help develop the people on their team, challenge others who are acting unfairly, give constructive feedback, and listen to those who need it. It is easy to support your own point of view! But take the time to look at situations from other people's perspectives.
Leader, Shareholder, Director
Many recruitment organisations are led by a person that has the roles of manager, shareholder and director wrapped up in the individual. The “hat” you wear when you are a manager is different to the “hat” you wear when you are a Director or Shareholder. But there are common leadership attributes required for all three and the ability to acknowledge and respect alternate views is an important part of that.
HHMC has written a number of documents to assist recruitment owners to understand where their business is positioned and some of the options that might be available to them. An example is What Is Your Business Worth? that discusses valuation considerations and issues such as sustainability. These provide some of the tools and knowledge you need to see the other party’s point of view.
So what is the point of this article? It is pretty simple. How you act in a negotiation reflects on you, your business partners, your business, and your family and friends.
Don’t invent a persona for this situation. If you act out of character during a business negotiation the inference is that is how you act in all circumstances. Bring the skills and attitude that have made you successful, work hard at the project, enjoy the process, get a result if one is available, and enhance your reputation.