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How to Use Leverage in Negotiation

The Scotwork Team

Anyone who wants to thrive in their professional and personal lives needs to learn how to negotiate. Negotiation leverage is the power to sway or convince the other side to accept your demands or wishes.

In a negotiation, having leverage can offer you a considerable advantage but also has potential drawbacks.

This blog will cover the definition of leverage in negotiations, its various forms, how to obtain it, and the moral ramifications of employing it.


What is Leverage in Negotiation?

In a negotiation, leverage is one side's influence over the other. It’s the capacity to persuade the other person to accept your conditions.

The party with more influence has greater bargaining power and is more likely to get what they desire. Leverage can take many forms, such as financial resources, knowledge, abilities, or other things the other party desires or requires.


Positive Leverage

An individual has positive leverage when someone has what another person wants or needs. In this situation, the party with more negotiating power may leverage this asset to secure a superior settlement.

For example, you have a unique set of abilities that the company needs when discussing a job offer. You have good leverage in this situation and can utilise your abilities in exchange for higher wages or improved benefits.


Negative Leverage

The reverse of positive leverage is negative leverage. It happens when one party has something the other party wishes to avoid. In this situation, the side with negative leverage may use it to press the opposing party into accepting their demands.

You have negative leverage, for example, if you're a supplier that offers a manufacturer an essential part. Since the manufacturer needs your part to make their products, you can utilise this leverage for better payment conditions, such as receiving payment upfront.


How Do You Gain Leverage?

To get what you want in a negotiation, you must gain leverage. Here are some strategies for increasing your negotiating position:

Know your advantages: Before engaging in a negotiation, it's critical to demonstrate your advantages and disadvantages. Finding your areas of leverage and negotiating in a position of power will be made easier for you if you’re aware of your strengths.

Prepare: Gaining leverage within a negotiation requires preparation. Find out the other side's needs, objectives, and priorities. You can use this information to determine your potential bargaining partners' strengths and opportunities for improvement.

Build relationships: Building a good rapport with the other side should give you more substantial negotiating power. The opposing side might be more ready to accept your requirements if they like and trust you.

Offer fixes: Offering answers for the other party's issues might also give you better bargaining power. They could be more ready to comply with your demands if you are in a position to help them with their current problems.


Is Using Leverage in Negotiations Ethical?

In negotiations, using leverage is only sometimes considered as being unethical, if it shifts towards exploitation or bribery.

For instance, using fabricated information or threats to exert pressure during a negotiation is unethical. It's crucial to bargain honestly and avoid using dishonest strategies to gain an advantage.

Both sides can achieve their objectives and forge enduring bonds based on trust and respect by bargaining in good faith and considering honourable points.



In conclusion, leverage is a crucial component of a negotiation's success. It can be used to gain an edge during negotiations, but it should only be done ethically and constructively. 

Leverage can assist you in negotiating better deals and forging lasting bonds with the other party when utilised responsibly and intending to achieve mutually beneficial solutions.

You can negotiate successfully and confidently if you keep these factors in mind as you move through the process.

For negotiation trainingget in contact with Scotwork.

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