Should men also fight for negotiation gender bias?
Negotiations are tough, and as we all know women react differently than men in these situations. Most of them admit that a determined male-negotiator makes them nervous, but things don’t have to be like this. Specialists from all over the world agree that women who manage to read others’ emotional states and fulfill their communicative expectations are excellent team leaders, better than empathy-enabled men.
According to the Harvard blog on negotiation, women who can read the emotions of their team and adjust their behavior and please opponents are considered more believable leaders and better conflict resolvers. An additional study discovered that women who like to thrill others can outperform the ones who are not very adaptive.
Highly-emphatic men are worse negotiators than women because an emphatic style makes men become more cooperative and lose their competitiveness. Both men and women seem to punish each other for not respecting some stereotypical gender behaviors and this behavior must come to an end. Women should try to accept men for who they are, and in exchange men should return the favor. Good negotiators are appreciated for their skills and not for their gender. As long as you act like yourself, nothing bad will happen during a negotiation.
Negotiations – business skills needed not only by women, but also by men
As entrepreneur Ken Kurson noted, “Negotiations take place all the time, whether you need to negotiate a salary raise or a business contract. What we don’t know is that the gender of a negotiator can cause a lot of problems because men and women have different negotiation styles and behaviors. These behaviors are usually very subtle, most of them being dictated by society. However, negotiations imply using some skills that are learned in time, and even though different genders can lead to different approaches, women are encouraged to use the same strategies as men.”
Victoria Pynchon, renowned lawyer and mediation specialist, states that most gender differences that can be noticed during a negotiation have something to do with language. Men usually discuss facts and they use a more powerful and direct language. On the other hand, women ask more questions whenever they want to make an objection, and use an indirect language whose goal is that of not sharing too many directives. Women are good at asking questions that will provide them with useful information, while men are likely to miss some nuances in both body language and words.
Empathy and aggression
Women are specialists when it comes to establishing a relationship with the other negotiator, even if it’s a man. That’s a good strategy, which can be used whenever they want to reach an agreement, as long as it’s not taken to the extreme. An overly empathetic behavior can lead to failures, and the female-negotiator may end up accepting more concessions that she had in mind in the first place. As far as men are concerned, they seem to be more aggressive whenever they want to obtain something. Empathy and aggression are great tools that can completely change the course of a negotiation, providing that they’re used accordingly.
Both men and women are advised to keep an eye on their actions, especially on those that establish authority and power in a negotiation. For example, men are used to leaning over the table or spreading their arms on it whenever they want to prove their point, but women don’t have the courage to adopt such behavior. Another way of taking control is by establishing your territory, and by taking up enough space for your material. Women prefer to keep it in front of them so that they don’t disturb anyone, but this approach can make others take advantage of their weaknesses. Besides, you should try to look the other negotiator in the eye and slightly raise your voice whenever you want to show that the ball is in your court.
The business environment is like a mine field for both men and women negotiators. Each of the two genders is fighting for supremacy in their own way. Yet, if they’re not controlling themselves, the result can be disastrous. Why do we feel the need to demonstrate men that we’re better? And why should men feel like they’re losing power in front of a strong woman negotiator? In the end, the client should see us for who we are; they should appreciate our efforts to work hard and not label us after our gender.