Power Negotiation has a Price

The reason they say to keep your friends close and keep your enemies closer is that power negotiators have no friends. They have no one they can trust. The first rule of power negotiating is trust no one. That is a sad state of affairs when negotiating is simply the process of interacting with others. It is a requisite of social survival.

To be a power negotiator limits your ability to openly communicate with others. The school yard bully has the respect of a small group of peers but the ire of the rest of the student body and faculty. When the time comes to matriculate and join the adult world, the bully will find few friends from school he can call on to open doors or otherwise help him.

The second rule of power negotiations is to not reveal your needs, wants, objectives and goals; to keep your foe guessing. The bully cannot reveal his real feelings, even to his peers. So he becomes isolated and ill informed. When corporate CEOs, intoxicated with their power, become bullies around the office they quickly cut the lines of communication that served to get them to the top. These short-lived tours of duty are excellent examples of the Peter Principle.

Power negotiators have limited potential. While they may succeed in one or two aspects of their lives, they will likely fail in others. Too many hard driving business negotiators are deemed effective around the deal table but later are seen alone in a dimly lit bar wondering what happened to their families.

The effective negotiator views power negotiations as a tactic, not even a strategy. They use it to amplify an argument or capture a concession. They do not abuse it to the extent that it damages the relationship or jeopardizes future opportunities.