Givers and Takers in Negotiations: Unlocking the Path to Win-Win Solutions

Casey Fenton

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September 15, 2023

There’s a crucial and often overlooked aspect of professional life: Negotiations.

But this isn't just any conversation about negotiations. We're taking a deep dive into the world of givers and takers, exploring how these two distinct archetypes navigate the turbulent waters of negotiation and how they strategize to achieve that coveted win-win outcome.

As we venture together on this enlightening journey, we'll pull back the curtain on the strategies and behaviors of these characters, helping you to understand, emulate, or even counteract them effectively. And if you're curious about a powerful secret technique that could dramatically shift your negotiation outcomes, stick around. We've got a game-changing revelation tucked away, ready to be unveiled towards the end of this exploration.

Ready to begin?

Who Are Givers and Takers?

It's important to understand who givers and takers are, their motivations, and how their respective attitudes and behaviors can significantly influence the course and outcomes of negotiations. So, let's roll up our sleeves and get to know them a bit better.

The Givers

In the grand theater of negotiation, givers are the actors who take center stage with a focus on benefiting their co-star—the other party. Their spotlight illuminates the path of mutual gain. Givers can easily be recognized through their collaborative approach and their readiness to step back, shift their stance, and even make concessions to ensure a greater good.

You'll find them actively listening, aiming to understand the other party's needs and perspectives. They're usually more concerned about maintaining a healthy relationship than about taking the lion's share. That's why they tend to lean toward cooperation over competition, believing that the best solution is one where all parties can walk away with a win.

The Takers

Contrastingly, takers step onto the negotiation stage with a spotlight firmly fixed on themselves. Their primary drive is their own gain, and they assert this aim with determination and competitive spirit. Takers do not necessarily aim to undermine others, but they're far less likely to make concessions unless they see a direct benefit to their own objectives.

Assertiveness is their calling card, and they aren't shy about driving a hard bargain. It's not about being selfish, it's about advancing their interests, which can sometimes result in impressive deals.

Takers are vigilant gatekeepers of their interests and are more inclined to guard information that could potentially shift the negotiation balance.

The Fine Balance

Here's the thing: neither givers nor takers hold a monopoly on successful negotiation outcomes. While it's a common myth that takers always clinch the deal, the reality is far more nuanced. The negotiation game isn't about extreme positions but about balancing one's interests with empathy and understanding for the other party.

Both giving and taking approaches have their strengths and pitfalls. A skilled negotiator learns to dance between the two, adjusting their steps to the rhythm of the situation. The true secret to successful negotiations lies in striking a delicate balance—knowing when to give, when to take, and when to meet halfway.

Now that we have established who our givers and takers are, let's delve deeper into the strategies they employ in the arena of negotiation.

Strategies and Behaviors in Action

What are the key strategies and behaviors that givers and takers employ? Understanding these will offer you powerful insights to navigate your own negotiation scenarios effectively.

Givers' Strategies

Givers bring a unique approach to the negotiation table, leveraging their empathetic and cooperative nature. Let's break down some of their notable strategies:

  • Empathy: Givers put themselves in the other party's shoes. They seek to understand not only what the other party wants, but why they want it. This understanding forms the bedrock of their negotiation approach.

  • Open Communication: Transparency is key for givers. They are more likely to:

  • Share their own information willingly
  • Encourage other employees to do the same
  • Believe that this exchange will lead to mutually beneficial solutions

  • Collaboration: Givers have a preference for win-win outcomes. To achieve this, they:
  • Advocate for solutions that satisfy both parties
  • Show willingness to make concessions when necessary
  • Foster a cooperative atmosphere during negotiations

Takers' Strategies

Takers, on the other hand, enter the negotiation arena with their eyes on the prize. They exhibit strategies that emphasize their own interests and needs. Here's how they typically approach it:

  • Assertiveness: Takers are clear and vocal about their needs. They:
  • Prioritize their own interests
  • Clearly articulate their demands
  • Aren’t uneasy to push for what they want

  • Control: Dominating the negotiation process is a characteristic trait of takers. They often:
  • Set the negotiation agenda
  • Steer the conversation towards their favor
  • Guide the pace of the negotiation

  • Information Guarding: Takers tend to keep their cards close to their chest. They are:
  • Less likely to share information that could potentially weaken their position
  • Skilled at extracting information from the other party
  • Strategic about when and what information they reveal

Remember, sticking rigidly to one approach can limit your potential in a negotiation. The most effective negotiators are the ones who adapt, choosing when to give and when to take, based on the unique circumstances of each negotiation.

Mastering the Dance

In essence, negotiation is a dynamic dance between giving and taking. Mastering this dance requires a keen understanding of these strategies and the flexibility to employ them when necessary. So, as we prepare to delve into the outcomes these strategies can create, consider how you might apply these tactics in your own negotiation situations.

With a deeper understanding of these strategies under our belt, let's venture into the outcomes these approaches can yield, especially when it comes to achieving win-win solutions.

The Outcomes: Achieving a Win-Win

Having looked into the strategies and behaviors of givers and takers, it's time to turn our gaze towards the finish line: the outcomes. How do these approaches translate into results, and more importantly, how can they lead to the ultimate goal of any negotiation – a win-win resolution?

The Power of Compromise

Compromise is often the cornerstone of successful negotiations. It's the magical ingredient that can transform a challenging situation into an opportunity for mutual success.

For givers, compromise is second nature. They're not just open to it; they actively pursue it.

They understand that making concessions can often lead to better collective outcomes, enhancing the satisfaction of both parties. In their view, a slightly smaller slice of a larger pie is better than a larger slice of a smaller pie.

Takers, while initially might be more resistant to compromise, can also see its benefits when it's strategically advantageous. They understand that a willingness to meet halfway can secure their gains while maintaining a positive relationship with the other party. If it helps achieve their goals, takers can skillfully navigate the waters of compromise.

Trust-Building

Negotiations aren't just a transaction; they're a trust-building exercise. The behaviors and strategies employed during negotiations lay the foundation for the level of trust that's built.

Givers, with their empathetic approach and readiness to accommodate others' needs, naturally foster trust. Their transparent and collaborative style can make others feel valued, contributing to a strong foundation of trust.

Takers, while usually self-focused, can also cultivate trust by demonstrating their ability to strike fair deals. Even though their primary goal might be to maximize their own gains, if they show consistency and fairness in their dealings, they can also earn the other party's trust.

Long-Term Relationships

While the immediate result of a negotiation is significant, it's crucial to remember that these interactions often serve a larger purpose – fostering long-term relationships.

Both givers and takers can create lasting bonds through negotiations by seeking win-win outcomes. Givers might do this by prioritizing mutual benefits and demonstrating consistent fairness, while takers can achieve this by showing that they can secure their interests while still making fair deals.

Remember, negotiations are not just about what you gain now; they're about setting the stage for future collaborations.

Now that we've covered the path leading to win-win negotiations, let's delve into a potent technique that could revolutionize your negotiation approach.

Integrating Equity Compensation into Negotiations

Finally, let's discuss how the concept of equity compensation fits into this giver-taker dynamic. It's a tangible manifestation of the negotiation process, often in a workplace setting.

The Giver's Perspective

From a giver's viewpoint, offering equity compensation aligns with their goal of mutual benefit. By granting employees a stake in the company, they're sharing success and creating a collaborative environment.

The Taker's Perspective

From a taker's perspective, equity compensation is a gain to be negotiated. It's an opportunity to increase personal wealth, especially if the company's future prospects look bright.

The Win-Win

In essence, equity compensation can be a win-win solution. Employees get a piece of the pie, while the company gets to retain talent and foster a sense of shared ownership. We can see that both perspectives have their merits in negotiating successful outcomes by viewing equity compensation through the lens of givers and takers.

Final Thoughts

Navigating the delicate dance of negotiations can be complex, but with a solid understanding of giver and taker dynamics, you can make it not only successful but also gratifying. Whether you naturally lean towards the empathetic, accommodating approach of a giver or the assertive, self-focused path of a taker, the key to a successful negotiation lies in a balanced approach.

The ability to flexibly switch between giving and taking, recognizing the power of empathy, and expressing a willingness to compromise can significantly enhance your negotiation outcomes. It's not just about winning an immediate advantage—it's about cultivating long-term relationships that can lead to future opportunities.

Take equity compensation negotiations, for example. A one-sided negotiation could potentially result in a short-term gain but damage the relationship in the long run. However, with a balanced approach, both parties can reach an agreement that feels fair and beneficial—solidifying a healthy, ongoing relationship and setting the stage for future negotiations and collaborations.

So, as you venture forward in your professional journey, take these insights with you. Remember, the dance of negotiation requires both the giving and taking steps.

Knowing when to lead and when to follow could be your secret weapon in achieving those win-win outcomes. So, put on your dancing shoes, and happy negotiating!

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Casey Fenton

Founder, Upstock & Couchsurfing, AI and Equity Innovator

Casey Fenton, the founder of Upstock & Couchsurfing and an AI and equity innovator, has revolutionized how we perceive and implement equity in the workplace. His foresight in creating platforms that not only connect people but also align their interests towards communal and corporate prosperity has established him as a pivotal figure in technology and community building. Casey speaks worldwide on topics including ownership mindset, worker equity, With Upstock and Couchsurfing, he has demonstrated an unparalleled expertise in harnessing technology for the betterment of community interaction and organizational benefits.

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