Negotiation Styles and Skills for Office Managers

March 20, 2023


Office Managers using their negotiation styles in a meeting
Sometimes in the workplace it is necessary to use negotiation tactics.

Negotiation may seem daunting to some, but it is a learnable skill that can often come in handy. In your professional life, you might need to negotiate a higher salary or increased responsibility with a boss. Or you might need to use negotiation tactics to mediate conflicts between co-workers. There are dozens of instances where negotiating in the workplace is necessary. 

To help with that, here is a quick guide to the five main negotiation styles you can use in different contexts.

The 5 Styles of Negotiating


The accommodating negotiating style is focused on building and maintaining strong relationships. When using this style, negotiators might tend to focus more on common goals, rather than personal results. This style minimizes differences between parties and works to keep tensions from rising.

The accommodating approach to negotiation is best used in situations where a long-term relationship is important. Negotiations with a boss or executive, or with a new client, are best suited for the accommodating negotiation style.


The avoiding approach to negotiation might seem like it’s not a form of negotiation at all. This style of negotiation involves avoiding conflict by simply not engaging in any conflict. While it can be said that there is no negotiation involved, this approach may actually be useful in some instances. 

In trivial matters, where the effort of active negotiating outweighs the potential benefit, avoiding negotiation is often the best way to preserve relationships. Of course, if your goal is to negotiate an important personal goal, you should take a more active negotiation approach.


Collaborating negotiation relies on innovation and working to solve as many issues for all sides as possible. Collaboration in negotiation relies on a healthy mix of several other negotiation styles. 

Collaborating negotiators must be assertive, accommodating, respectful, and empathetic. This, at times, can be the most challenging negotiation style to pull off. But, when done right, the results are excellent. The collaborating negotiation style is useful in situations where both results and relationships are highly important.


The competing negotiation style is the most assertive option on this list. When using any form of assertive communication tactic, it is important not to overstep into “aggressive” territory.

Competing negotiation is focused more on achieving results than on building relationships. As such, this is not the right approach to settling interpersonal conflict. However, when it comes to negotiating for a raise or other personal goals, the competing approach to negotiation can work.


Compromising negotiation is the practice of finding a fair middle ground between opposing sides. This style is somewhere in the middle of the accommodating and collaborating approaches. If no solution solves everyone’s problem (collaborating), and no way to fully accommodate one side (accommodating), then a compromise is needed.

This style of negotiation may not be the most satisfying. But, in many cases, it is the most practical way to achieve results without damaging relationships.

How to Negotiate a Salary Raise

Now that we have covered the various negotiation tactics, you may be wondering how to negotiate in professional settings. More specifically, how to negotiate a salary increase.

When negotiating for a pay raise, you most likely want to preserve a good working relationship. However, you also want to achieve your goal. In that sense, you may be best suited using a mix of negotiation strategies when negotiating a pay raise. You can be accommodating and collaborating by emphasizing company goals and how you provide value in pursuit of those goals. However, you can also be somewhat assertive with the competing strategy. This way, you become your own advocate in a salary negotiation.

Want to learn more about how to negotiate? Read ASAP’s guide to Negotiating for Yourself for more in-depth strategy advice.

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