Does a competitive person make a better negotiator than a cooperative person? Wharton professor G. Richard Shell’s insightful Bargaining for Advantage: Negotiation Strategies for Reasonable People (2006) contends there isn’t a straightforward answer.
Competitive people don’t mind interpersonal friction and thus initially have the upper hand over less aggressive personalities with little appetite for friction. However, competitive people generally lack skills in managing relationships, which gives cooperative people an advantage in situations where interpersonal trust over the long term is crucial. It’s easier to negotiate against someone who has a similar personality. Negotiation gets dicier when different personality types mix.
How to improve your results? Practice. Prepare through information-gathering and setting achievable but optimistic targets for the negotiation process.
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