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.
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