One of the most common mistakes when dealing with difficult individuals is to label them as «irrational». But what does irrational mean?
«My boss is crazy» – «It is impossible to talk with my husband/wife» – «No one is getting along with the new colleague.» Or a hostage negotiation with the police saying: «You can’t negotiate with hostage takers, they are totally crazy.» This kind of thinking becomes a justification for ignoring what is going on inside the other person’s head.
Anything you judge, you judge according to your criteria. Irrational means you find this irrational based on your own subjective criteria. What are your criteria when you call your boss crazy or your customer difficult? That client is difficult or irrational for you because you are using your own criteria. But does that still hold true if you consider their values in the assessment?
If you get to the point where you find your negotiating partner irrational, keep the following points in mind:
• Remember that your assessment is only based on your subjective view.
• Try to look at the negotiation with from the perspective of your partner’s values and needs.