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What Position For Carlos Tevez?

Mike Freedman

I watched Manchester City's Manager Roberto Mancini's outburst straight after the Champions' League game in which Carlos Tevez reportedly refused to go on to the pitch. Mancini clearly said that Carlo Tevez would not play for him again. In fact at one point prior to this outburst he had claimed that it wasn't his decision. It just seems that later as he appeared to gain encouragement from the supportive comments of the BBC's man holding the microphone, he went the whole way and declared his position on his Argentinean ex-captain.

There are a few points of interest in the events both within and surrounding that interview.

Taking a Position in Negotiation 

If at all possible no matter how emotional the situation becomes we should try not to declare a position, positions do not generally benefit us, they so often become obstacles later particularly if situations and conditions become clearer, alter to our advantage or pressure is applied upon us or the situation. Any or all of these things could be happening to Mancini at this moment. Our advice generally is avoid taking positions particularly when under pressure. Instead take a break, or if you cannot then speak generally, avoid commitments let the emotions evaporate.

In the German military a commander will only accept a complaint from an officer about a fellow officer if in writing and no complaint will be accepted within 24 hours of the event. I had a very similar condition imposed upon me only last year by my new mobile telephone. I found to my dismay that my "all singing and dancing" mobile phone whilst receiving mails via the group server in Glasgow, would not allow me to send mails due to some temporary incompatibility between the phone and the Glasgow server.

It took weeks to resolve the technical problem but in that few weeks there were several occasions when I received a mail in the morning that I would normally have acted upon immediately with a positional statement, something like "Not possible", "Never" "No". These are words that we want to avoid, we know them to be representative of poor negotiating behaviour but in the heat of the moment this is sometimes all that comes to mind. The fact was however, because my ability to respond immediately was taken away from me, by the time I had gone back home I had avoided taking a position and very often found a way to give the other party what they wanted but on my terms. I lost nothing by delaying a response.

The phone is working great now.

The Results of Bad Negotiation 

One more observation. Tevez claims to be very upset that Mancini went public. I can see what he means; by going public he made it far less likely that his position can be changed. Next time you have to send a contentious mail, or a message that you suspect may stir up emotions, avoid doing what so many people do which is stacking the c.c. box with the name of everybody's who may have a passing interest. In fact do the opposite and strip the message's c.c. recipients to the bare minimum. This makes it far less of a probability that the other party will take a position. If you put her/him on stage as Mancini effectively was the outcome is likely to be much more positional.

As for Tevez well, being a red myself, anyone that leaves Manchester United has this coming to him. But that's just my position.

Mike Freedman

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