LEADERSHIP IS INFLUENCE | Decision Making and Group Influence

LEADERSHIP IS ABOUT INFLUENCE | My recent Reading and analytical response on the Topic of Negotiation in Organizational Leadership.

Everyday people are faced with situations in life that demands us to make choices. Leadership of a Delegation is one of the ideas that got developed by Raymond Saner in his book Expert Negotiator.  He illustrated how leadership gets exhibited in different situations and the influence that it has to people.  Various leadership styles that get used differ from one cultural background to the other as explained by Saner.  According to Saner, group functions is closely related to leadership as a group of team members can get directly involved in developing leadership systems hence make crucial decisions.  The purpose of a team gets related to the subject at hand which accrues from the identified problem, information that needs to be collected and disseminated.  Leadership and groups go hand in hand with each other, and the two are inseparable where the personal interest of each of the member in a group needs to be satisfied.  Leadership gets characterized by the ability to involve negotiation skills, effective communication and decision making that is ethical.

In making decisions, the involvement of a team is crucial where members of a team get involved in reaching a consensus on matters about issues at hand.  Leadership is essential in making decisions where the leader direct other members of a group on what need to get done.  It is, therefore, that we ensure there is effective leadership with the aim of reaching for quality decisions that will lead to development.  The applicability of leadership is evident in the real world and revolves around day to day operations. For example, a close friend once worked as a team leader for a group that was involved in community mobilization activities targeting in educating local population on hygiene and proper sanitation.  As a team leader, one gets entitled with providing leadership to the other members of the group which at times is not an easy task.  He faced challenges concerning negotiation skills where some of the members felt that they could stand out and oppose what the leader decided.  He, however, ensured that he undertook all communication initiatives to inform them what gets expected of them depending on what needed to get done at any level.  In making successful negotiation skills, it is important to employ good leadership qualities to ensure that as a leader you have the significant influence towards other people.

Negotiation skills and effective communication are vital in the ethical decision-making process.  Our daily routines demand that we make decisions that are healthy to our well-being which is unavoidable as they are part and parcel of our life.  Various researchers have built their work on identifying how negotiations vary from rationality. (Raiffa, 1982) developed a decision analytic approach to negotiations which dictated how we should behave.  Raiffa focused on offering prescriptions to negotiators but called for descriptive research to assess the behavior of their counterparts who are impacted by the decision that gets made.  His ideas got based on the argument that as a negotiator, one should get to understand the likely behavior of the other people.

Studies have revealed that because people egocentrically interpret what is fair in negotiations, they can adopt different standards, which get based on whether they introduce a certain decision or they are a victim of the same (Babcock and Loewenstein, 1997).  People tend to develop these different standards and qualities without their conscious awareness (Banaji, 2003).  These varying perceptions have been viewed as a way of initiating conflicts between parties.  If one party views a certain action as ethical and the other sees it as unethical, there tends to exist a barrier which gets to continually develop a significant barrier hindering the development of a relationship.  From this statement, we can conclude that decisions will always affect one party or the other either negatively or positively.  Failure is never welcome to people and thus when such result affect one negatively; it gets viewed as failures which can results to more barriers between the parties involved.

According to Forgas (1998), emotions get connected with how negotiators select certain strategy to implement in certain decision making processes.  Those who exhibit anger were found to be less competent compared to those who were jovial.  According to Loewenstein et al., (1989), anger makes negotiators more self-centered and this affects their preferences hence making them decline offers that would assist in the development of ventures.  Research has also focused on the role of emotions and how they affect the ability to judge and behave.  It also aimed at examining cognition and the distinguishing element between good and bad moods and how they lead to different information strategies (Forgas and George, 2001).

More so, emotions influence decision making in negotiation processes.  Some of the regulatory processes may be expressed through emotions control efficient decision making through both implicit and explicit knowledge (Damasio, 1994).  The connection between emotional intelligence skills and negotiation outcomes got laid down by Barsade and Gibson (2007) where they sought to find the effects of generalized versus discrete emotions on decision making.  This means that the mental condition of an individual gets to influence his ability to engage in decision-making and the quality of decisions that he makes.

Monarchy Decision Making | Square Puzzle Round Puzzle

Monarchy Decision Making | Square Puzzle Round Puzzle

Negotiation is closely related to intuitions, and as much as we tend to think that the ability to negotiate is a natural occurrence, we cannot assume that the gut feeling plays a greater role in this process. Keith ( 2000) developed two systems of thought that characterize emotions which influence how we negotiate.  One of the systems got viewed as being automatic and effortless while the other as deliberate and systematic situations.  As much as we have control over how we think about situations, when it concerns complex decisions and negotiations, the effort shifts to the thought that is automatic and effortless.   According to Dijksterhuis and Nordgren (2006),  what we strongly feel may indeed allow us to make better decisions especially when it has to do with decisions that get to be complex. According to research, some negotiators are better than others and as Thompson (2005) stated, successful negotiation can get primarily attributed to natural skill or talent.  However, arguments against this have gotten developed with the ideas that we all learn to become better negotiators.  Research has also shown that the ability to negotiate can increase with training and boost the level of interactive agreements too (Thompson, 2005).  The benefits of training may also be transferred over time although there are suggestions that the type of training may affect the optimal levels that can get reached.

Despite the existing knowledge about the positive impact of training on negotiation performance, implicit beliefs concerning skills and performance may not necessarily match explicit knowledge (Brown, 2009).  The idea of whether we are born with certain levels of negotiation skills or whether we learn them remains a matter of discussion to most researchers.  This ability is a determinant of the communication levels and strategies to engage in when making decisions.

Developing a key communication strategy is vital in ethical decision-making procedures.  Leaders need cross-cultural negotiation skills to maintain their competitiveness (Okoro, 2012).  They need to develop a system that is easy to inform as well as enquire if anything is not clear so that it reduces cases of misunderstanding.  Tones and words that are chosen to deliver information should be friendly so that a good and friendly relationship gets maintained.  It is recommended that leaders undergo training related to interpersonal development so that group success (Okoro, 2012).  As the saying goes that “Actions speak louder than words”, leaders should get to recognize their nonverbal communication methods and be aware of acceptable behavior as well as restrict the same depending on cultural variations.  Open communication can lead to a well-developed relationship between the leader and the followers thus leading to trust and respect in the leadership system.  The presence of effective communication develops the leader’s credibility and increases the royalty of the followers towards their leader (Choan, 2003).  In this regard, every communication opportunity should get treated as a way of building a relationship between the leader and the group members.  A leader should have the ability to understand his team so that he can detect how to involve negotiation processes with them and make vital decisions that are crucial to everyone.

Leadership cuts across all spheres of life and all the leaders are expected to portray certain traits that are relevant in the world today.  As a leader, one is mandated with the powers to lead others into developing courses of actions which are applicable depending on the situation at hand.  When we talk of leadership, we cannot leave out the negotiation element since it acts as a backbone to any decision maker.  A good leader should have the necessary negotiation skills and use them to source for appropriate strategies.  Communication goes hand in hand which is a vital part in the success of any agenda.  When there is no appropriate communication between different parties, there develop loopholes which lead to communication shortcomings.

In making decisions, leaders should ensure that there is an ethical standard which meets the criteria that get set.  Group dynamics should be observed and ensure that all the members are directly involved in all of the decision-making procedures.  A consensus is necessary so that the decisions made are acceptable among all the team members.  Great delegations have fallen apart without this observation.

Watching current organizational leadership grow in the world of Political Science I have seen first hand how this lack of decision making hierarchy leads to further dissension and disorganization.  Cultural differences and the lack of proper communication style can lead to disenfranchised spirits and further ether is brought between team members.  By breaking down the separation between interconnected groups more efficient decision making was seen in a local Volunteer group that I organized.  Through team building exercises built around a local campaign for Veterans Initiatives I watched this unfold in a real time situation.  The results of this leadership style built influence, organization, partnership through the divide which lead to productivity completing the needed missions in hand.  Furthermore although the Gut cannot be scientifically proven it’s influence in the outcome of every negotiation or decision cannot be negated either.

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

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