The best leaders have powerful traits that guide their teams to success. One common characteristic shared by the best leaders is the ability to negotiate. Finding common ground is essential for building team cohesion, and learning negotiation skills can make consensus-building easier.

Being a real leader is more than having authority or recognition. Authentic leadership has more to do with developing people to realize their full potential. Here are the top six reasons why real leaders need negotiation skills to make their teams successful.

Inspire Confidence

Effective team members need to have confidence in each other and value their colleagues’ expertise. Agreeing on role assignments according to team members’ expertise can be a powerful motivator. The leader highlights each strength, inspiring team members to have confidence in the roles each member undertakes.

By searching the web for programs on online negotiation skills, leaders can easily access resources to hone their consensus-building skills.

When the leader negotiates with a team to assign roles, members of the team highlight each other’s positive attributes. Effective negotiation enables tasks to be shared appropriately. By promoting the positive qualities of members, people become more confident about their abilities.

For instance, when a leader arbitrarily assigns tasks, team members may feel a mismatch between skills and roles. If a tech person is handling PR while a communications person is assigned to tech support, then the team may not be effective. However, through negotiation, the team agrees on a more suitable role assignment. Members end up having more confidence in each person’s abilities and that of the whole team.

Motivate Others

Real leaders are great motivators who take their time to discover the unique talents of others, whether in sales, training, or administration. Through astute observation and discussions, a leader organizes team tasks and delegates responsibilities according to each person’s talents.

The best online negotiation class leaders teach business leaders to confer with their teams to maximize each person’s potential. At a Shapiro Negotiations workshop, for instance, facilitators teach participants how to identify and use body language, develop negotiation strategies, and work together to resolve conflicts. Teams then feel more highly motivated to perform tasks that lead to the achievement of goals.

Guide Decision-Making

Real leaders don’t dictate their whims to others. Instead, a real leader considers differing opinions before coming to a decision. With a viable shared decision-making model, the decisions made are likely to garner wider support and motivate team members.

Build Passion

Whether working for a humanitarian cause or a sales campaign, a passionate team is a valuable asset. Real leaders realize that team members are integral to their success. Recruiting members with the right skills is essential – but not enough. A leader needs people who are moved by the mission and passionate about their roles.

For most people, knowing that their role is important inspires passion for their work. It’s not worth it having a collection of people with superb resumes but lacking passion. So, great leaders know that negotiation, whether in person or online, can create synergy and build passionate teams.

To build passion in your teams, as a leader you can:

  • Form agreements that allow team members to support each other’s efforts.
  • Discuss and agree to core values to work/live by.
  • Tackle issues surrounding work–life balance to enable members to have fulfilling personal lives outside their team’s mission.
  • Be receptive and appreciative of feedback.
  • Resolve individual differences and embrace differing personalities.

Enhance Communication

The Reasons Why Real Leaders Need to Be Skillful Negotiators
The Reasons Why Real Leaders Need to Be Skillful Negotiators

Negotiation supports open communication lines and positive feedback loops. The leader can influence how, when, and where team members communicate. For instance, teams facing internal rivalry may be reluctant to share ideas. A positive leader can create win-win situations where members share ideas without losing their competitive edge. Online surveys can safeguard anonymity, allowing teams to express themselves without fear.

A common example is the inter-departmental rivalry often witnessed between the sales team and the marketing team. A discordant relationship between the two departments is likely to affect the whole company’s bottom line. An effective leader would use negotiation to bridge common areas of conflict.

TED Talk coaching leadership and communications classes can help your workforce improve their interpersonal skills. Workers can also speak openly at such an event in an appropriate setting. Fostering stronger bonds between departments can also be achieved by creating an open space for online comunication.

By negotiating a safe space that encourages feedback and supports positive competition, teams can communicate better – in both face to face and online meetings. To enhance communication, negotiation works to encourage team members to:

  • Express themselves more, without fear.
  • Resolve issues through inclusive discussions.
  • Reach mutually agreeable positions.
  • Increase cooperation between individuals and departments.
  • Explore new avenues for success, such as pursuing sales in unconventional markets.

Promote Accountability

Teams work better when there is accountability. With accountability, people take ownership of their roles and strive to make sure their work shines.

Weak leaders tend to think they themselves are the ones mostly responsible for their teams’ success. When team members feel they don’t share responsibility, recognition, and rewards for success, they won’t be as dedicated.

Leaders can negotiate with their teams to assign roles and improve accountability. Here are some areas for discussion that may promote individual accountability:

  • Talk with team members to assign one person per task.
  • Agree to clear and measurable expectations.
  • Follow up on agreed commitments and promises.
  • Delegate and let others take charge.
  • Let experts within teams be responsible for decisions within their expertise.
  • For every achievement, offer recognition and rewards to members who played roles in attaining the goals.
  • Be careful not to be perceived as downplaying anyone’s contribution, no matter how minor their role. Recognize those who played major roles as well as those who played supporting roles.

Harness Creativity

The best teams are usually those that find creative solutions to complex challenges. Great leaders encourage their team members to think outside the box.

Individual team members bring different strengths and ideas. The team may reject some ideas outright. Some plans may seem viable at first, only to fail the test later. Some of the most outlandish ideas may usher in a new wave of innovation for the team.

Negotiations serve to analyze the merits and demerits of new ideas to find creative solutions. If a leader has poor negotiation skills, their team members may never feel confident about bringing forth unconventional ideas.

Elon Musk is renowned for working with others to create transformative innovations. By negotiating with others and exchanging ideas, he galvanized teams to grow PayPal, SpaceX, and Tesla.


Teams work better and achieve higher sales when members are passionate and motivated. A real leader doesn’t claim full responsibility for a team’s success. Instead, the leader shares the rewards and recognition for achievement.

Negotiation supports collaborative efforts both in the office and online, and makes for a passionate team. Real leaders open up lines of communication, enhancing cooperation. Effective leaders can use their influence to negotiate and assign tasks. Negotiated roles promote accountability and boost feelings of ownership.