Now that the Paycheck Fairness Act has been blocked by the GOP, sending federal funding for women’s negotiation training to the dust bin, bargaining experts are out in force advising women on best negotiation practices.
There’s no one more famous for popularizing the collaborative, interest-based negotiation we teach at She Negotiates than Harvard’s William Ury, co-author of the ground-breaking Getting to Yes and author of the more recent Power of a Positive No.
Male and Female Negotiation Styles – is it Better to be Cruel or Kind?
In a lengthy interview at the Huffington Post – Fearless Negotiation – Ury places his bet on women’s natural relational negotiation style as the “winning” bargaining strategy for the future.
Women, says Ury, have a bargaining advantage because they’re “more tuned to relationships.” That’s a strength in an economy that is discarding its old top-down pyramid structure and replacing it with loose, horizontal structures that depend on the maintenance of good on-going relationships.
“Men,” says Ury,
have more of a tendency to treat negotiation like a transaction where one side wins and the other side loses. It has its place in certain negotiations, but it’s increasingly less relevant than a relational approach, where you look for solutions that work for both sides.
Practicing “harsh, ruthless, win-lose negotiation” is a recipe for failure in a system that is increasingly dependent on people working together because they want to. Although men might “win” one negotiation with a take no prisoner’s attitude, their bargaining partners will find someone else to work with in the future – someone who is capable of being “soft on the people and hard on the problem.”
“Right now,” Ury mused,
I would say that asking the traditional question of, “Who’s winning this negotiation?” is more and more like asking the question, “Who’s winning this marriage?” If you’re asking that question, your marriage is in serious difficulty!
Do We Need Legislation? It Would Have Helped, But We’re Good to Go Without It
When I’m asked about the failure of the Paycheck Fairness Act, I tend to react more calmly than I often do when it comes to the GOP defeating legislation benefitting women or promoting laws that are detrimental to us.
Sure, it would be great if we could legislate greater transparency in compensation and let loose with a little federal money to get women the negotiation training they so badly need.
On the other hand, there are plenty of people out there right now with the knowledge, skill and wisdom necessary to teach what Ury’s been teaching for a quarter of a century – interest-based, relationship enhancing, collaborative negotiation.
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