Diplomacy is a set of skills very few possess, and many dismiss. But it can be the most powerful tool in the business world if applied properly.
There are misconceptions that to be diplomatic is to be a fence-sitter, to not have a particular side, be friends with all and stand for nothing.
On the contrary, being diplomatic requires you to have a firm belief system and understanding of what you want while also respecting others’ beliefs, focuses and opinions.
Here are just a few key — and too often overlooked — traits that can build your diplomacy skills, and allow you to chart a powerful course through the sometimes savage waters of the business world.
Keep control of your emotions
- You can’t be one of those people who take pride in “being unfiltered” … which is simply a sign you lack self-control. A diplomatic person will never react or make a decision based on emotions. They will take the time required to ensure they are level-headed at all times
Respect other people’s views
- Being diplomatic doesn’t mean you have to agree with everyone. But it does mean you need to take the time to listen to other people’s passions, views and opinions — and respect them whether or not you agree with them.
Know how to mediate
- You must develop the ability to ensure everyone in a group or situation is happy with an outcome. You must be the key person who remains objective and can see the pros and cons of a situation and can carefully articulate that to each party in a way that makes them feel they are “winning”. And in a successful mediation, everyone’s a winner.
Close bridges — but don’t burn them
- When a diplomatic person is shafted in business, they don’t publicly shame or burn a bridge. They either use the situation to their advantage or if it is a connection that needs to be shut down, they simply and quietly close the gate on the bridge, ensuring there is always the potential to re-open it in the future.
- Whether or not people agree with them, a diplomatic person has more allies than they do enemies. People will regard you with respect because of your impartial — yet still strategic — approach to everything you do
See the positive in every situation
- A diplomatic person is naturally a positive and strategic person. They will also see the opportunity in a situation or a problem. They are the “‘go to”’ person people regardless of what has happened, and you are having them on board guarantees a practical and positive outcome.
- Loose lips sink ships and that is why a diplomatic person will not say a bad word about anyone (well mostly) or indulge in character assassination. They can’t be bothered with gossip. Ever. The only words that come out of their mouths are of praise or strategic to get what they need out of a situation or conversation.
Not easily influenced
- One of the most powerful tools of the diplomatic person is that they are not easily flattered or influenced by perceived greatness or opportunity. They see through smooth talkers and those looking for quick buck so to speak. They will politely listen to the opportunity or compliment although it’s like water off a ducks back unless they can seen an opportunity in it.
Amanda Rose is the only ‘strategic connector’ in Australia, a brand strategist, speaker, host of Amanda Rose TV, founder and CEO of The Business Woman Media. Quoted as an “internet winning blogger” by TIME.com. Follow Amanda on Twitter.