Follow this expert advice to negotiate with a bully.
- Differentiate between a bully that may be controlling versus bullying. Some people don’t see themselves as bullies. They may be the type that likes to be in control of situations and display overly aggressive means to maintain that control. The two perspectives possess different mindsets.
- Identify the personality type of the bully you’re negotiating with (you’re always negotiating). Thus, even in your first encounter with a person (and after that time), you should assess that person’s traits, demeanor, and characteristics. Doing so will give you the insight needed to formulate a negotiation strategy.
- Determine the best environment to negotiate with a bully. He may be stronger in one environment as the result of resources surrounding him or those he has to ‘save face’ for; this may also tend to make him cockier than he’d normally be. If that’s the case, get him out of his environment; this should be done physically and/or psychologically. In doing so you’ll dilute his psychological powers and weaken him mentally in the process (i.e. power is perceptional).
- If addressing a bully on a one-on-one basis doesn’t achieve your objective(s), marshal forces to use as leverage against him. Depending on the situation, let those that he has more respect for take the lead on your behalf; never let a bully know how strong your forces are. You must be prepared to send in a second, third, fourth, etc., wave that’s stronger than what preceded it. For maximum effect, the timing of your next foray should occur just when the bully thinks he’s squashed your best efforts. In normal situations, over time you’ll wear the bully down and he’ll acquiesce to your wishes. Be mindful of the bully that won’t acquiesce over a period of exhaustive negotiations when forces have been marshaled against him. You might be dealing with a bully that’s willing to destroy himself for the sake of denying you any kind of victory. To prevent from making too many concessions, establish exit points that indicate when you should depart the negotiation. Always be mindful that, the longer you stay engaged in a negotiation, the likelier you are to make concessions to your disadvantage. This is due to the psychological need to see the negotiation to its end. This could be to your severe detriment.
- Once you’ve achieved your objective(s), over a period of time reengage the bully from a polite perspective and observe how he interacts with you. To the degree the relationship is important to you, be prepared to let him win an encounter, but never let him bully you again. Your prior actions should be engrained in his mind to the point that he’d not want to experience the prior encounter that you two engaged in.
- As further insight into the affects your engagement has had with a bully, note how those closes to the bully engage with you after an encounter. Their actions will allow you to assess the degree of sting that still resides in the bully.
Bullies only pick on those that they perceive to be weaker than themselves. Don’t let a bully perceive weakness in you and he’ll have no target to attack… and everything will be right with the world.
Remember, you’re always negotiating.
#HowToNegotiateBetter #HowToNegotiateWithBully #PreventBullying
Negotiator #1 – “I knew they’d back out of the deal. All of them negotiate like that.”
Negotiator #2 – “As I was negotiating with those guys, I knew I’d have to back out of the deal. They never negotiate fairly.”
In the above situation, neither negotiator was aware of their bias. The absence of that mindfulness brought unrecognized pressures on the negotiation. Each negotiator made mistakes because of it. It was also the reason the negotiation fell apart. Are you aware of your biases when you negotiate?
To negotiate better, note when you might possess the following bias mindset.
- These are biases that you’re aware of. They can easily slip your mind when you negotiate. It’s like breathing, automatic. The potential danger arises when you negotiate in an automatic mode and having this bias unknowingly directing your actions. To address it, be aware of what you’re aware of. Don’t shrug off a thought too lightly because you think you’ve addressed it. The more aware you are of how you feel, the better you’ll be at identifying why you feel a certain way.
- To be unconscious of anything is to be unaware of it. In a negotiation, when you’re unaware of a driving force, unconscious biases may be the source. To combat this possibility, note the source of your emotional sensations. Identify if you’re fearful, elated, expectant, or cautious. Then, note if it stems from a visual, kinesthetic, or auditory source. Doing that will sensitize your emotions to your state of mind. That will alert you to the realities of what’s motivating your action.
- It can be risky to lump everyone from the same culture into the same category. People are individuals with their own perspective of reality. The more you view someone as an individual, the greater the chance to see that person for the unique qualities they possess. Negotiating with them on that bases will enhance the opportunity to connect with them at their level. That will lead to better understandings about why they negotiate in a particular manner, while you help them obtain what they seek from the negotiation.
- Some people bully others and some are just tough. Based on what you’ve experienced in life, you may deem someone a bully when negotiating. The person may just be a tough negotiator. There’s a difference in those personality types. Be very cautious about how you brand someone when negotiating. Because, the way you brand them will affect the way you view them, their actions, and the way you negotiate with them.
- We see what we expect to see. That affects our perception. Realize that your perception of reality won’t always be right. That should cause you to pause when you think, “I know he’s like ‘x’. Everyone in his group is just like that.” When making broad assumptions, be aware that anything which seemingly supports your beliefs may serve as confirmation about those beliefs. The truth may lie further from reality than you think. Don’t conflate like-appearing assumptions that should be thought separators.
The more you’re aware of the biases you carry into a negotiation, the less mental baggage you’ll have. Being aware of that fact and heightening it in the negotiation should lead you to greater negotiation outcomes… and everything will be right with the world.
Remember, you’re always negotiating!
Negotiating with a bully, or anyone that acts in an obstinate manner can be a difficult proposition. Such encounters can leave you haggard, bewildered, and in a sense of bedazzlement. Stated simply, it can leave you emotionally drained. But, if you know how to negotiate with a bully, you don’t have to risk jeopardizing your sanity or peaceful state of mind.
When you find yourself negotiating with a bully, consider employing the following strategies to lessen his impact.
- First, identify why the bully feels he can bully you. There’s something that he’s perceived about your demeanor that marks you as a target. Once you discover that, you can alter your demeanor to appear more formidable. Just an FYI, you should alter his perspective of you prior to entering into the negotiation.
- Understand his source of power. A bully’s mindset is one of picking on people that he perceives to be weaker than himself. His perception stems from his support system (i.e. those that back him), along with his perspective of what he’s achieved versus what he perceives you to possess (e.g. he has friends in higher places, more money, greater status, etc.) To combat his perception, create the persona of someone that’s also connected. You can do this by emulating the bully’s support system.
- Appear fearless when such is required. A bully will ‘push your buttons’ to discover ways to manipulate you. Everyone is familiar with the schoolyard bully. He picks on the kids that won’t stand up to him. When they do, he usually moves to a target that is less challenging. When dealing with a bully in a negotiation, you have to be defiant when defiance is called for. Remember, the bully will only push you to the point that you allow him and, he’ll continue to push as long as you allow him. Unfortunately, history has taught us this lesson time and time again when dealing with tyrants; tyrants are nothing more than bullies with a bigger platform.
- Observe body language – In particular, look for nonverbal signs of submission and those that are out of sync with his verbiage (e.g. bully leaning away from you when making a demand – potential sign of him retreating and testing your resolve, softening his demeanor when he senses that you’re displaying backbone, making request with ending statement sounding like a question). Such observations will give you greater insight into what his next action(s) might be and his psyche.
- Consider how you can have embedded commands in your offers, suggestion, and/or concessions. As an example, observe the statement in bold in the first paragraph of this article. It states, ‘you know how to negotiate with a bully’. Such subliminal messaging may not be observed by the conscious mind, but they will be perceived at a subconscious level. Therein is where it can have an influence on the other negotiator. To combine the effects, lace several subliminal messages together. Use them as needed and apply them judiciously.
While negotiating with a bully can be trying, if you employ some of the suggestions mentioned above, you can decrease the bully’s effectiveness. In so doing you’ll make yourself less desirable from being targeted for bullying by the bully… and everything will be right with the world.
Remember, you’re always negotiating.