It’s good that they don’t hit you.
If someone hits a kung fu master, the master has many options. You can block the blow, redirect it so that its energy is harmlessly dissipated, return the blow while protecting itself, catch the blow momentarily while delivering a kick, lock the elbow, wrist or shoulder joint of the striker to immobilize and control it. or even use the energy of the blow to launch the puncher across the room. It can also be somewhere else when the hit hits, a so-called “yin” block. There is no shame or cowardice in not getting hit. It’s okay to stoop if you know what the next step is. As long as the punch doesn’t reach you, you’re safe.
For the negotiator, the situation dictates the nature and level of his response. Sometimes it is better not to compromise. For instance:
- In a situation where you will eventually lose, it may be better to postpone the conflict for as long as possible.
- When someone is trying to mislead you by engaging in personal attacks or pressing your personal or organizational buttons, it may be better to ignore the behavior than to escalate things.
- When your counterpart is agitated, it may be better to let him tire or get more upset than to try to negotiate with him in that state.
- When your counterpart is a moving target, it may be best to let him settle into position before you respond.
- When your counterpart is not in a strong enough position to cause harm or deserve a response, it may be the best use of resources just to keep an eye on the situation.
- When you are waiting for external circumstances to become more favorable, it may be better to postpone an exchange.
So where does that leave our intrepid negotiator? After avoiding conflict, do you stand firm? Do you attack your counterpart in anger? Do you like Sir Robin in the movie Mount Python and the Holy Grail?
“Brave, brave Sir Robin / Bravely escaped / Gone, left, escaped / Oh brave Sir Robin! / When danger rears its ugly head / Bravely turned his tail and fled / Yes, brave Sir Robin did turned around / And gallantly cowered … ”
The answer is simple. Use the time you haven’t engaged to position yourself to respond. Whether you’re thinking of the best answer, gathering the organization’s assets, dealing with internal organizational politics, letting your counterpart dig a hole, or even preparing a better escape hatch, you may be able to improve your negotiating position. for the next round of conversations.
It is a mistake to confuse doing nothing with being ineffective. Sometimes getting out of the way is the best thing to do.