The negotiator


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May 30th, 2017
Hiscox Experts

Hiscox insures more than 300,000 UK businesses and has been named Best Small Business Insurance Provider by Start Your Business magazine for eight years in a row.

From your answers, you sound like you could be a 'negotiator'.
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Negotiators can put people at their ease. When decisions are deadlocked, they have the ability to see both sides of the argument and to suggest a solution; they find a collaborative approach works best.

Their down-to-earth, friendly nature makes them easily approachable, and they enjoy motivating people they work with, helping them with any problems. They are usually a trusted and integral part of any team. For them, ‘people’ are the most important asset of a business, and they excel at managing teamwork. Calm in a crisis, but also flexible and adaptable to changes. People are drawn to their capable exterior.

Strengths: Empathy, mediation skills, reliability, easy-going nature

Possible weaknesses: They can be indecisive, be reluctant to take credit for their work, at times they may be over-accommodating, they may resist confrontation even when it is required.

Character traits

This personality is neither strictly extroverted nor introverted, but more a happy medium between being friendly and calm and relaxed. He/she is a "people person", with the ability to empathise and to see two sides of a situation. They are often called upon to mediate, as they are naturally diplomatic and can help people to meet in the middle. In meetings, they persevere until a consensus or a compromise can be reached. Their pace is to 'go with the flow', and they are the most flexible and adaptable of all the four personality types. They work best in an office environment that doesn't rely on rigid rules (similar to the "visionary"), and they have a reputation for being reliable, down-to-earth, and supportive of others. They are the most easy-going of all the four personality types.

Working preference

They like routine and can be creatures of habit, as this gives them the solid base from which they can reach out to others. Their reluctance to deliver bad news or a reprimand to a co-worker can be seen as a weak point; they often wait to see if a negative situation will work itself out, or delegate the dirty work to someone else. They hate being "the bad guy"! Their decision-making is notoriously slow, fuzzy and forgetful, as they prefer a collaborative approach, rather than having to make a decision all by his/herself.

Appearance and presentation

They like a neat and tidy desk, but when caught up in "people issues", their workspace can become cluttered and untidy. Their strength is creating a spirit of teamwork and a positive working atmosphere. In appearance, this type tends to be slow walking and talking, with a thoughtful, serene countenance. Dress-wise, they often look comfortable, informal and "lived-in" (sometimes dishevelled), as clothing is not that important to them.

Communication style

They are known for procrastinating or if pushed, even digging their heels in. They may ask for more information to help their decision-making process. They often have to be reminded in writing as to what they agreed or even be asked to reiterate a commitment that was understood to have been made. They tend to buy what's always been bought before, although they can be talked round to a new acquisition if real need can be proved convincing.

They have excellent listening and communication skills and are flattered to be asked their opinion. They will often hold forth at length, even to the extent of being long-winded. Similar to the "visionary", they can tell a good story. Emails can be meandering affairs, often wandering off the point with an anecdote. Being easily distracted, they don't tend to return emails on the same day. When giving a presentation, though, they are interesting, entertaining speakers with a warm, inclusive tone, who can always be counted on to present a balanced point of view.

How to work better with a 'negotiator'

Pitching new ideas/work (i.e. projects) to them

  • State your position at the outset, so that they can bounce off you mentally
  • At regular intervals, ask what they think (it helps them to focus)
  • Summarise as you go along
  • Be warm, approachable, and open to different or conflicting views

Writing proposals or reports for them

  • Summarise as you go along
  • Be very clear what the goals and objectives are, and repeat at intervals
  • Put everything in a written memo to them (commitment, costs, terms, timings, deadline), and ask for a written reply
  • Be cautious what you commit to, and deliver what you commit to

How to present to them

  • Stay down-to-earth and warm; avoid self-importance
  • Take a balanced approach that can take onboard all viewpoints
  • Ask questions to ‘feel out’ commitment and to encourage inclusion
  • Summarise as you go along

Get a foot in the door with them (make a good first impression)

  • Present “bad news” as no one’s fault; avoid blaming
  • To get around bad news, suggest a “balanced” solution
  • Stay mild; a sense of goodwill goes a long way here
  • Ask directly for their opinion (they like expounding)

Giving feedback, or delivering bad news

  • Emails with a warm, friendly reassuring tone to them
  • Ask what they think at every step of the programme
  • Be part of their “team”, and keep in regular contact with all the team-players
  • Make suggestions that the original idea was theirs so they can “own” it

How to communicate with them (i.e. keep them happy)

  • Don’t be afraid to ask for feedback (they love being asked for their opinion!)
  • Pre-empt by getting everything agreed in written format beforehand: then send a memo a week or two before invoicing, and another if payment is late
  • Suggest a decision for him gently, and allow him to concur
  • Never remind about deadlines, as they could dig their heels in