It is certainly not easy to consider any form of ‘aggression’ as an appropriate response during negotiations. The word itself seems harsh (in ENSI language, way above ‘red 10’) and therefore inappropriate behaviour in workplace negotiations.
Yet dealing with ‘boiling point stressed out rage’ does at times call up the capability to give back high ‘red’ behaviour. Commonly a controlled response a level or two below what you are receiving works well. Then, as appropriate, slowly and carefully help the other party move to more cooperative behaviours. Being disciplined in your questioning technique is very helpful here.
Preparation is The Key
Preparing yourself for a situation where you anticipate an aggressive response or reaction makes it a lot easier to deal with when it happens. Rehearsing how you will manage ‘aggression’ is extremely valuable. When it occurs, retain your internal good humour and maintain control by staying up in your ENSI process observation ‘helicopter’.
It is also important for negotiators to remember what may be happening is part of the critical ENSI negotiation phase of Differentiation. If the other party has a need for an emotional release, it may be wise to permit their ‘aggression’ (anger and frustration) to come to the surface where it is more likely to dissipate. And without good Differentiation, negotiators often end up with sub-optimal outcomes.
Tips on Managing Hard Line Situations
- In managing conflict it is healthy to display/explore differences
- Allow emotions to surface and permit anger or upset feelings to be expressed
- Keep the discussion of differences at the operational level, and stay detached at the personal level
- Remember the process objective of Differentiation is to clarify issues and discover conflict limits (not to solve the matter)
- It is important to ensure Differentiation is fully played out before moving on.