August 6th, 2018

This is How to Work with a Difficult Hard Bargainer

What is a difficult hard bargainer and how can you possibly work with such a person? We all run into folks like this at times. This can cause frustration and consternation. Do we take the time to explore what is behind this negative approach? Should we? How would we do that if we did? How can we work with them?

  1. The bargainer caught between a rock and a hard place

You and your boss get along well. Right now your boss needs to complete this project and you are the key person to complete it timely. There is no slack in the schedule. A personal situation has arisen and you need to take a week off now. Your boss says no. What should you do?

Instead of looking at this as a win-lose situation, discuss your situation, brainstorm ideas and explore options. Explore a time when you and if necessary other members of the team can come together to explore alternatives. We all think of ourselves as key players, but in the end if you came to your demise today, what would happen to that project? No one is indispensable.

Instead of looking at this as a win-lose situation, discuss your situation, brainstorm ideas and explore options.

Don’t push for an immediate response that forces your boss to say “no”. Instead ask for something like “I have a very serious personal issue that came up and I will need to take some time off, can we (you and others that may be able to help) meet later today to discuss this?” You may temper it by saying something like, “I know how critical this project completion date is and I want to meet it too. I need your help to determine how we can accomplish this and allow me to address my personal situation.”

  1. The forced to have to hard bargainer

Sometimes something can come up with someone you have an excellent working relationship that forces that party to become a hard bargainer. You have worked with this vendor for years and you know each other very well. Something has happened with the vendor and your contact suddenly asks you to sign a contract that cannot be changed and have closure within a week. You look it over and you have real concerns.

You need to probe for interests. Why are you presenting this to me at this time? What is behind this? We have not worked this way before. What has changed? You need to explore interests. “Could we schedule a time later today to discuss this?”

Why are you presenting this to me at this time? What is behind this? We have not worked this way before. What has changed? You need to explore interests. “Could we schedule a time later today to discuss this?”

There can be other constraints that could have impacted this situation that you were unaware of such as a potential merger or acquisition, new legal constraints, a change in management philosophy, loss of a major client by the vendor, a new major client for the vendor that needs capacity immediately, limited working capital, needs to reduce budgets, and host of other reasons.

Listen with empathy and understanding. Be there to help. In the end go over the constraints and see if you can work together to overcome the new barriers that entered into the process.

  1. The bully

What is the strategy of the bully?

Goal – Success

Relationship – Adversarial

Technique – Make Threats

Objective – Victory

Insist on – Position

Focus on – Position

Outlook – Distrust

Contest of will – Prevail

Pressure – Apply Pressure

Process – Hard on People and Hard on the Problem

Tactics – Demand concessions as condition of relationship

Options – Demand One-sided Gains As a Price of Agreement

Bottom Line – Mislead as to the Bottom Line

When dealing with difficult people a host of issues come to light. How to get along with difficult people and how to work with difficult people can be a real challenge. Understanding the goals and objectives to reach out to the underlying interests is the key.

So what do you do? When dealing with difficult people a host of issues come to light. How to get along with difficult people and how to work with difficult people can be a real challenge. Understanding the goals and objectives to reach out to the underlying interests is the key. In Peaceful Resolutions the chapter on negotiations offers insight into the hard bargainer that is intentional with negative actions. Look past these. Try to see things from their perspective as indicated in the listing above. This is ho you can do that:

Stay above the line,

be a problem solver,

explore interests,

compromise using objective criteria,

focus on interests,

trust but verify,

reach a result based on standards independent of will,

yield to logic and principle, but not to pressure,

soft on people and hard on the problem,

separate people from the problem,

focus on interests,

create options,

avoid having a bottom line.

Contact me to speak to your group or consult with you. Check out my website, books and content. I am a Qualified Mediator with the Minnesota Supreme Court and an international speaker. I speak on how to overcome conflict with collaboration by taking advantage of the collaboration effect TM enhancing relationships, resources and revenues. My service areas are: business to IRS, business to business and within businesses. I have written 11 books including The Servant Manager and Peaceful Resolutions. I may be contacted directly at mg@mikegreg.com and at (651) 633-5311. [Michael Gregory, NSA, ASA, CVA; BS, MS and MBA]

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