Negotiation Skills for Project Managers: How to Get the Best Outcomes for Your Projects

The role of a project manager can be complicated. They have to act as a leader, mediator, delegator, motivator, and even a negotiator. They are responsible for assembling a team of colleagues, often from various departments, to complete tasks. They may even have to work on a short schedule or with an allocated budget, which can make their role all the more difficult. Furthermore, they are liable to encounter various kinds of conflict from time to time, requiring them to find ways to ensure success with minimal risk to project objectives. In order to do their job, project managers must develop strong negotiation skills so they can communicate effectively, complete tasks on time, and set the foundation for successful project execution. Here are some of the reasons why it is important for project managers to master the art of negotiation.

Facilitate Discussions

Most people describe negotiation as a formal discussion in which two parties must work together to reach a common agreement but it can actually be any process in  which two or more parties use persuasion to achieve objectives. Therefore, project managers use negotiation every time they engage in discussions with their team. They use these negotiation skills to facilitate productive discussions where team members can arrive at joint decisions and they work together to find mutually acceptable solutions to problems. 

Secure Resources for Their Project

Project managers are not only negotiating with third party vendors and clients. There are many instances where they must negotiate within their own team or organization. For example, they may require certain tools or resources to complete their project and they must demonstrate the value of these resources to the company and why they are necessary for success. They may also, of course, have to negotiate with clients or vendors to secure outside resources as well. 

Foster Teamwork and Unity

A great project manager has the ability to bring people with different skills, backgrounds, and perspectives together to reach a common goal. While each individual team member may have their own ideas, the project manager must work with the group to find mutually agreeable solutions to problems. They must be able to identify which members of the team can be leveraged in certain situations in order to reach the best outcome. 

Conflict Management

As mentioned above, conflict is bound to arise from time to time when working on a project with different people. Everyone has their own ideas and opinions and this can lead to disagreements within the group. Project managers must be able to negotiate resolutions quickly and with minimal risk to the project outcome.