Never underestimate the importance of trust in a team. In a recent episode of Negotiations Ninja podcast, I talked with Mark Lowther, negotiation and communication coach and former law enforcement crisis and hostage negotiator, about one of his best moments as a crisis negotiator and one of his worst. The biggest advice he could offer after going through these moments in is his life was to ensure you have ultimate trust in your team.
Having trust in your team means you know them, you have worked together before, you understand how each other thinks. You have to be more than acquaintances.
When working as a negotiation team, especially within law enforcement, it’s vital to act as one. No one is a superstar. No one is a hero. “We succeed as a team. We fail as a team, and so everyone’s vested in a successful outcome,” says Mark.
It is a critical attitude to take into a business negotiation, as well. Most companies have procurement teams, working together for the outcome of a negotiation. Lean on your team. Ensure you trust every member of your team because you will need them to fall back on and to help you separate yourself from the negotiation.
In the story of Mark’s best moment in negotiation, he talked about a situation he went through that he attributes wholly to his team’s abilities and having them for not only support but the encouragement that he was making the right decisions.
“Having five other team members that are with me, helped keep me calm and kept me reassured that they had my back and that we had the situation under control,” says Mark.
In many situations, negotiations are enhanced by the ability to relate. The more people involved in the discussion, the more collective experience at the table, the more likely there will be one person who can relate to something on the other side. A team brings expertise and experiences, and in Mark’s profession, the more experiences available to pull from, the higher the chance of helping someone or calming a situation.
The more experiences a team has collectively had, the more empathy there is to be drawn on, as well. Empathy is one of the keys to successful negotiation, and it’s hard to have that compassion without having experienced something similar. No matter what the scenario, the more people working together in the negotiation, the higher the likelihood that you can offer real empathy.
Mark’s story of his worst moment as a crisis negotiator is chilling, and I strongly suggest you listen to this episode of Negotiations Ninja podcast to feel the deep intensity and gravity of the work crisis negotiators do.