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Improving Your Negotiating Skills

  1. Attend Training Programs: Books and articles only take you so far. I teach an annual class for CEOs, and in my experience these CEOs are already ahead of the game just by showing up. They are committed to learning and even at their level have figured out how to make time for it. You can also find valuable networking opportunities here.
  2. Teach What You Know: Ana Maria Sencovici of The River Group recently wrote that teaching is one of the most underused tools in leadership development. I agree. There is no better way to master something than by trying to impart your knowledge and skills to others. It makes you think about the material in new ways. In my experience, sometimes you learn more from your “students” than they do from you. Take advantage of opportunities to teach.
  3. Build Self-Awareness: While it may sound cliché, self-awareness is critical to effective leadership. Executive coach Mary Jo Asmus recently wrote that the best leaders “discover their development goals by staying aware.” They deliberately “observe themselves as they go about their workday while focusing on others’ reactions at the same time.” Then, they take the time to think about what they’ve observed, in order to make improvements.
  4. Gather Feedback: Asmus also wrote that great leaders ask for feedback. You should actively solicit feedback from your employees, your board, and anyone else in a position to provide valuable input. Institute an anonymous feedback mechanism for your employees or engage with a third-party gatherer. 
  5. Find Mentors: Develop relationships with people who have been in your shoes. Speaking of feedback, mentors or coaches are often in a position to give you objective advice that you may not get on the job. Find someone who will give you honest, unvarnished input.
  6. Cultivate Peer Relationships: You should develop relationships with as many people in your industry as possible. This is important for keeping up with developments and gaining new perspectives and ideas. The relationships I have formed within my industry have often provided great value to my companies.