Negotiation Techniques and Tactics
One of the first things I did was to find common ground with the HR manager by accepting that a drug testing policy was required for the company considering the nature of the industry. A driver is responsible for the safety of passengers; therefore, the company feels like it is a necessary step of insurance. By connecting with the HR manager, I established a level of trust and mutual understanding on which further negotiation could proceed.
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Further, I wanted to establish the rights of the employee by indicating to the HR manager that it was inappropriate to keep the driver waiting without any information. This directly established my priorities as the Employee Assistant Program (EAP) consultant to protect and support the employee. However, in response to the HR manager’s indication that a third party should be present when confronting the employee, I explained the nature of EAP. It serves as a supporting tool to aid employees; however, any issues should be directly addressed by the manager first. This forces direct cooperation with the driver, which the manager seemed to avoid.
In further discussion, I directly established my moral ground by specifying that the employee’s record was exemplary. Therefore a second chance is warranted, considering that one possibly false-positive test result does not violate company policy. This shows compassion, but relays my stern position to the opposing party, indicating that negotiation will take place. It creates a bargaining zone between my position and that of the manager, in which a compromise can be established.
The manager insists that if the second result is positive, then the employee will be fired if he fails to enrol in the residential drug rehabilitation program. I showed my emotion of frustration and the unwavering opinion that such steps are unreasonable and unjust to the driver in this situation. I exemplified listening skills to understand the manager’s point of view and understood the importance of his decisions. This established a respectful relationship as the manager considered my position and offered a cheaper outpatient program. I confirmed that the program will cost much less and will allow the driver to stay with his family. This was done to determine all factors of the deal to eliminate any possibilities of manipulation or deceit and clarify possible misconceptions for the employee.
Considering the limitations of the situation due to existing policies, I found that the offered deal was the best compromise in this position. Compromising is essential in negotiation as it finds the best alternative while maintaining a balance of a healthy relationship and future cooperation for all involved parties. In the end, I made sure to confirm with all involved sides that the outpatient program was the common decision in the case of the second blood test coming back positive. This serves as a chance to clear any last negotiation hurdles and becomes a guarantee that the result of the negotiations is not misunderstood. Overall, I believe that my negotiation tactics were fair, balancing my position with that of the HR manager. I used my emotional intelligence balanced with reasoning skills to guide myself during the negotiation.
The Practice of Negotiation and Dispute Resolution: Lessons Learnt
Establishing boundaries and the rights of all the parties is important. In negotiations, this principle helps create a balance of power, without which one side will exercise unfair leverage in the negotiation. For example, in the scenario, the driver was uninformed, pressured, and somewhat harassed by the manager. It is not known what the manager’s intentions were, but the union brought a theory that the company wanted to justify firing this driver so cheap labour could be hired. By clarifying the employee rights as the EAP counsel, I established a balance and a sense of security for the driver. Emotional intelligence is key to navigating successful negotiations.
All sides are passionately invested in their respective opinions, causing tension when there is disagreement or misunderstanding. Being able to read other people’s emotions helps a skilled negotiator to evaluate which approach should be taken to arrive at the compromise. Also, that includes balancing personal emotions to effectively communicate one’s point without negating reason and derailing the discussions.
If there are negotiations, compromise will most often occur, since if there were no possibilities for a common-ground resolution, discussions would not happen. While that may seem redundant, it is true in most situations. Therefore, when negotiating, even at an impasse, it is a concept that should be remembered. By compromising, both sides make gains to achieving their goal, but without it, there would be negative consequences. For example, in this situation, if no compromise occurred, the driver would have been fired his test come back positive since he could not afford the rehabilitation program. That means a loss of employment for the driver while the manager loses a skilled worker and faces a possible boycott from the union, which would bankrupt the firm. However, there is a policy in place that the manager must enforce. By inviting the interested parties to the negotiation table, a possible conflict was avoided.
Reflection on the Behaviour During the Negotiation Process
The scenario allowed me to explore myself in a negotiating role. Some of the strengths that I exhibited were being informed about my position as an EAP consultant, understanding what was required of me. I showed good moral judgment and control of my emotions. My communication was satisfactory, as I asked direct questions and engaged in active listening, a fundamental aspect of any negotiation. However, there were weak elements, as I failed to communicate effectively with the driver in the scene beyond a few phrases. Never at any point did I seek an explanation from him on his point of view or feelings, a responsibility of a consultant. I was primarily somewhat passive.
Afterwards, I feel like I readily accepted the outpatient program compromise without negotiating. My involvement was minimal, while I could have utilised better tactics, such as put pressure on the manager along with the union worker. I could evaluate the emotional state of the participants. Still, I never intervened on aspects of the scenario where the manager was accusing the driver of potentially lying, or there was heated tension with the union representative.
While in this scenario, the compromise was acceptable, such passiveness can result in unfavourable outcomes in future negotiations. In the simulation, everyone involved got into his or her role. I was surprised how much debate occurred between the HR manager and the union representative. It became very technical and detailed. The driver’s reaction was also passive, as he left others to voice his position even though his employment was on the line. However, the negotiation discussion took a very predictable route with each side enforcing their perspective to the point where an effective compromise was achieved.