Resourced Leaders

'Resourced Leaders' is a premier Australian based Leadership Performance organisation that specialises in working with senior executives, leaders and high performing individuals who aspire to greater levels of personal leadership and success.

N’tiation: Negotiation without the ‘EGO’.

Posted by Phil Owens
Phil Owens
Philip is one of Australia’s leading performance and leadership specialists. He
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on Thursday, 30 May 2013 in Leadership

We negotiate all the time in business, and in our lives.  It is a skill that is rarely taught, yet it is poorly implemented – often leaving a lot of value ‘on the table’ and ensuring that people don’t manage to achieve their best outcomes.


One of the biggest issues I see in training people in influence and negotiation is not the ‘technical’ aspects of negotiating (although this is incredibly important) – it is the way that they bring themselves into the negotiation – often with disastrous effects.

If only people would take the ‘ego’ out of negotiation – perhaps we should invent a new word – “N’tiation” – where people can negotiate with ego being involved.

Some of the problems with ‘Ego’ in negotiations include:

  • ·         Playing ‘hard-ball’ at the wrong time.
  • ·         Focusing only on self, rather than using curiosity to explore potential solutions.
  • ·         Seeing negotiation as ‘win or lose’.
  • ·         Reacting defensively, aggressively or personally to the situation
  • ·         Making take it or leave it ultimatums





When we understand the aspects of ourselves (our egos!) that we bring into the negotiation, we can pay attention to how they are either being used -or taking control of our behaviours - to negatively influence the result.  Great negotiators use emotion carefully, precisely and with elegance to influence the other party, not get dragged by it into making rash or poor choices at the negotiating table.

So what can you do about it?

Firstly, be aware of what ‘winning’ and ‘losing’ in the negotiation means to you.  What is at stake, from an objective level, what it may make you feel and well as what it may mean about you as a person.  Often, it is these deeper ‘identity’ issues built on our social needs which most influence the way we negotiate.  If we need to be liked, we may give ground to the other.  If we need to feel competent or in control, we may dominate and not be curious about possibilities.  If we need to feel significant, we may promise too much to demonstrate our importance.  Understanding the social drivers behind our unconscious choices is so powerful in giving us more choice in negotiation strategy and style.

Secondly, we need to be aware of our ‘triggers’ – what are those things that may happen during a negotiation that may trigger an emotional and defensive response?  This often shows up as the ‘flight or fight’ response leading to avoidance or aggressive behaviours.  One way to notice when this happens is when you become rigid in your position, or stop really listening to the other party (and your inner voice is the loudest thing you hear!).

Thirdly, we need to be prepared and trained in the skills of negotiation, so that we can use these skills confidently.  We need to know our position, what we can or cannot offer and what we seek.  If we are then triggered or thrown off balance, we can go back to the ‘technical’ things and our plan whilst we rein in the ego – and get back to finding a great solution.

When have you noticed the ego getting in the way of negotiations?

How do you take the ego out?


What is your favourite tip or trick for getting great results in a negotiation?

Stay resourceful,


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Philip is one of Australia’s leading performance and leadership specialists. He honed his skills working with executives and leaders around the world, coaching and consulting in over 30 countries, from entrepreneurial start-ups to boards of multi-billion dollar businesses.


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