Building respect and relationships, within negotiating teams will change the outcomes of wage negotiations.
Picture an All Black playing against the Springboks. They are traditional rivals. As he walks onto the field, he has no thought of negotiation in mind. His focus is to win at any cost. The Bok players feel exactly the same.
His team start with an impressive Haka. (In South Africa they call that Toyi-Toyiing!) The opposition watches cynically and smirks.
The game is hard and uncompromising. Defeat is unacceptable. They use secret game plans and surprise tactics. And are caught out by the opposition’s tricks.
At the end people will have been hurt – one side will have won – the other will have lost. Celebrations for the winner – brings dejection for the loser. That will not change.
However, they will shake hands at the end of the game. They will have a meal and a drink together. They will chat and become friends – because there is huge respect for great moves and awesome plays!
Compare this to a wage negotiation.
Management and shop steward teams are so different that they seem alien to each other.
They are traditional enemies. One side toyi-toyis, the other stands apart. Both groups aim to win at all costs. Their “crowds” expects to win and will not accept “defeat.”
Because aliens do not negotiate until there is suffering – neither side will budge on their demands. Hardship is acceptable and they normally get that.
People feel pain, the firm struggles and the separation grows. This can change.
Imagine that the negotiators, all knew and understood each other, at a human level. That, through a values-based agreement, they work professionally and get results fast. With their focus on fairness, respect and win:win.
They would then be able to talk as people, on the same side, with different responsibilities. One accountable to the company and shareholders, and the other focused the needs of to the workforce. They would be able to shake hands, as colleagues who have battled each other, firmly and respectfully, for those they represent.
There would be no need for anger, pain and suffering and loss of income to firm and team.
Yes. A little bit of respect goes a long way. This will change the country, remove the anger, and strengthen the economy, your people and your firm.
Brian V Moore
Workplace Conflict Resolution Specialist