How Effective Leaders Negotiate and Influence Positive Outcomes in a Crisis

Senior managers need to be skilled in the more subtle and refined methods of gaining the commitment of the workforce and instilling the feeling of safety.

Communication is key

In this time of flux, communication is a crucial leadership and influencing skill. Heroic leaders often owe their reputations (and self-perceptions) to their management skills in times of crisis and emergency. While this is certainly a valuable attribute, it is only one element. Such leaders can learn the skills of the cooperative negotiator and influencer, which include:

  • Asking questions
  • Interacting with followers as equals
  • Using reason more than emotion
  • Being willing to share information

Create an ‘atmosphere’ that encourages commitment

Leaders who see their skills as ‘negotiation and influencing process managers’ know how to minimise risk and build climates that encourage commitment, not just compliance. They manage the most important interactive climate variables: time, place, and mood. For example, an emergency requires quick reactions, visibility, and clear instructions.

 Be clear and transparent

Honesty, transparency, mutual respect and a common purpose is essential for creating an atmosphere that fortifies trust. As the global pandemic unfolds, people are having to negotiate and influence constantly to establish methods of shared support.

Leaders need to learn how to adopt a more flexible style in difficult circumstances. Instead of stalling, or avoiding conflict, or being overly accommodating, they can be trained to:


  • Make clear statements of intention
  • Be more aspirational
  • Consider (premediated) emotional appeals
  • Demand major concessions
  • Concede strategically
  • Manage the perceptions of win/lose outcomes.


ALL negotiations require planning and strategic thinking before they begin. Every negotiation has a ‘before’, ‘during,’ and ‘after’. (ENS International has a negotiation strategy preparation template available for ENSI alumni.) Skilled negotiators and influencers make all their decisions with a conscious focus on the outcome they wish to achieve.

Process Step 1: Diagnose needs

Process step 2: Choose your negotiating Style

Process step 3: Control the Climate

Process step 4: Identify and use tactics

Process step 5: Manage Phases

Great leaders share a common characteristic, they are highly skilled in being able to persuade their followers to work towards a common goal. They appreciate this means upwards of 80% of a leader’s job requires that they be fully competent as effective negotiators and influencers.

Skilled Leaders are skilled Negotiators and Influencers. They achieve better outcomes because they can accurately assess and combine the needs of their organizations with the needs of their followers. They can intentionally vary their approach to meet the occasion and influence the outcome. They know how to control the key ‘atmospheric’ variables and manage the tactical manoeuvres that affect the perceived balance of power. And they know how to intentionally pace the interaction purposefully through phases to achieve their desired outcome.

ENS International can support your organisation and team via our virtual training and coaching support to help you get the outcomes you want during these uncertain times. Please contact us to find out how we can help on your next negotiation.

ENS Team
ENS Team

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