Think Like A Negotiator in Employee Engagement & Relations (Part 2)

Think Like A Negotiator in Employee Engagement and Relations
October 3, 2015
Anatomy of a Negotiation – Landlord Tenant Dispute
October 23, 2015

Employee EngagementNegotiation in the workplace. Employee engagement. What is the secret? Is it a detailed, dissectible idea that requires extensively complex and over complicated techniques in order to be effective in employee engagement and relations? The answer to that is an emphatic no.

As we continue the discussion from the previous article on employee engagement and relations, lets go further beyond the seeming basic strategies discussed previous; Everything Is Negotiable, Own Your Power, Build Relationships First.   Click to view that article.

On the surface it may appear to be too simple to be true. These first three strategies seem too basic and not complex enough to have a significant impact on engagement in the workplace. However, these basic fundamentals are often times overlooked for the more dissectible and complex ideas. If we would simply embrace and master these strategies, surprisingly employee engagement and relationship would improve. In addition, team performance would be operating at a higher level. How do I know this to be true? These are the very things I used in many leadership situations with a wide variety of personalities to overwhelming success not once, but many times.

This article will look at 3 more strategies to add to your toolbox and incorporate into your engagement with employees, which will help improve relationships and performance.

1. Build Unconscious Rapport – Rapport is a close and harmonious relationship in which the people or groups concerned understand each other’s feelings or ideas and communicate well. It is a level of trust. People who are like each other – like each other. Since we all receive information differently, learning how people receive information is key in engaging with them in a way that they will respond.

Building rapport unconsciously is about understanding how people receive information and connecting with them the way they receive information helps with communication. This has to do with understanding whether people are visual, auditory, kinesthetic or auditory digital. Discovering how someone receives and processes information helps with communication in the workplace. For instance, if someone is a visual learner and you are attempting to teach them by telling them, you are less likely to get the message across than if you showed them how its done. Have you ever given someone a task and wonder why they just couldn’t get it done right? Understanding this fundamental concept will help reduce frustration in task assignment and ensure completion is done right the first time.

If you are interested in more information about this, I have tools that will show you how you receive information and understand the same about others. It aids in how you communicate with them and ultimately engage and relate.

2. Leave Emotion Out – There have been many leaders that used yelling and intimidation to engage the workforce. This is primarily known as an authoritarian leadership style. Refer to the example of a former commander I had that used yelling as her primary leadership style. This approach leaves either a hostile work environment or an environment where everyone is scared to make a move for fear of another blow up from the leader.

As a leader, leaving emotion out should be at the top of the list before we engage with other employees or our employees if we are leaders. As a leader, you are the example that others will follow. Also as an employee, people will connect with you based on how you react or not react to different situations. Do you work with an employee who is nasty and unpleasant and bites peoples heads off all the time? Think of what kind of a work environment that creates. There is a rare time when emotion is necessary depending on the task, for the most part, leaving emotion out will produce a cooperative work environment where employees will feel respected, valued and safe.

3. Listen Up – Effective Listening – Listening is not only the key to understanding but also the key to engaging and connecting with employees in the workplace. Often times we don’t listen to our employees. They may have great ideas but they aren’t given the chance to express them. Or maybe they have an issue they need to clear up but feel they won’t be heard so they don’t want to discuss it. Perhaps the supervisor didn’t stand up for them when they shared their idea at a staff meeting and the other employees tore the idea down.

Everyone should feel like they have value and are listened to. When we put the focus on the employees and what they have to say, the entire organization benefits because not only are they heard, but they know they are heard which fosters a level of trust and strength within the organization. Employees that know they are valued will go the extra mile for the organization and the team becomes a highly functional high performing team that will achieve more and go farther because of the level of trust and connecting within the organization.

These negotiation strategies along with the other 3 in the previous article may seem basic and even too easy to improve employee engagement in the workplace. However, if you use these 6 as a foundation to build on within your organization, you will notice a difference in how the employees respond. It may not happen overnight depending on the operations tempo within your organization. For a change to become effective, it needs to be consistent and continued. Making changes to the way we operate can be a challenge but if you map out a plan and lead by example, your success will come and the results will be long lasting positive change and impact.







Eldonna Lewis Fernandez
Eldonna Lewis Fernandez
Veteran negotiation and contracts expert Eldonna Lewis-Fernandez, author of “Think Like a Negotiator,” has over 30 years of experience crafting killer deals both stateside and internationally, many in excess of $100 million. She’s currently the CEO of Dynamic Vision International — a specialized consulting and training firm that helps individuals hone negotiation skills — as well as a nationally regarded keynote speaker, session leader and panelist on the Art of Negotiation. Eldonna may be reached online at

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