When you are in conflict with another person or group, negotiation is the word that should describe the process of resolving the conflict. Unfortunately, there are people who thrive on conflict. They see it as representing a possible “win” situation for them or “their side.” That means that the other person or people lose. Winning all the points is not generally a good idea, because a forced agreement does not sit easily. After you have won your fight, you usually must work with those whom you have been in conflict. A graceful winner is much appreciated by the loser, and out of a conflict can come a lasting collaboration.
Determine how evenly you and the other people are matched
This can help you measure the degree of strength you’ll need to get what you want. Never use more force than you have to. When you display too much power, people become anxious and disinclined to work closely with you. They’ll be wary about trying to resolve mutual problems with you.
Decide ahead of time what you can concede
Even if total victory seems realistically possible, and even if the facts all seem to be on your side, it’s better to find something you can afford to give up to the loser.
Stop when you’ve won your goal
Don’t use victory as an immediate stepping-stone to other requests or demands. Some people say to themselves, “Well, as long as we’re on a winning streak, we might as well go for some of those things we’ve been wanting for a long time.” You will have more strength later if you stop now, satisfied with what you’ve achieved. People will be more willing to talk with you in the future about mutual problems if they don’t fear a massacre.
Take the initiative in healing the wounds
Grace in victory is even rarer than grace in defeat, and it should be as highly respected. Indicate by your attitude that you are not smug or gloating about your triumph, and make specific moves of reconciliation to your opponent. Offer your cooperation and whatever resources you have to make another’s defeat easier to swallow.
Being a graceful winner is an art, by mastering it you can create an identity for yourself.