Principled negotiation is about separating people from the problem. Focusing on interests rather than positions is beneficial when leading change.
This post explains why the project leader should adopt an interest-based approach to negotiation and conflict resolution.
Many projects use a matrix structure where project manager and line management share responsibility, authority, and accountability for resources employed. This brings together resources from different functional areas to participate in a virtual team. Consequently, they are likely to have different perceptions and expectations for the project.
To be persuasive, we must be believable; to be believable, we must be credible; to be credible we must be truthful. – Edward R. Murrow
For example, they may have a view of the way things should be done, the efficacy of project management techniques or the time and effort scheduled for a particular task. Therefore, the project leader must be able to negotiate with experts, functional managers, and senior management to secure resources, agree priorities, and determine responsibilities.
In other words, the project leader must learn to influence people and move them to action. If we are to motivate someone to do something for us, we need to be certain they understand the objective:
- Know what to do.
- Know how to do it.
- Accept the schedule.
- Believe they can do it.
- Grasp the significance of not doing it.
This is not straightforward. The project leader has to influence senior stakeholders and direct people from different parts of the organization. Negotiation is a fact of life for the project leader. However, negotiations must be done in such a way that they do not jeopardize ongoing relationships and the project.