Consider the option that “negotiation” as a topic is a corporate fad. You hear a lot about it from the kind of people who try desperately to chase some kind of corporate game, but in practice, negotiation skills are not really that important in a work environment for the simple reason that these environments are by nature very cooperative. As long as you can get to clarity with people on what needs to be done, not much negotiation needs to happen. It’s quite easy to spot the graduates of negotiation classes at work—they are the ones who waste everyone’s time by practicing their negotiation jiu-jitsu moves when everyone else is just trying to agree on a project plan and get working. Maybe it’s a virtue to not be one of these people.
I second this. Most negotiation advice is geared toward formal “negotiation” settings, like when you are negotiating sales contracts or business transactions. For those purposes, having negotiation tools is really useful (my favorite is “Bargaining For Advantage” which I learned of from The Personal MBA). But for being a manager, you are almost never explicitly negotiating, and in fact trying to come into your work with that mindset is counterproductive. When you are working with your reports, it would be disastrous. When you are working with other internal teams, it’s mostly about informal tit-for-tat kind of long-term favor trading or reputation building (or just getting to fundamental value for the business for both parties and moving forward based on that), not explicit negotiating. These aren’t things that are taught under the term “negotiation.”
I think this is the notion of “dark arts” in HPMOR. You don’t necessarily become “one of those people” when you learn the tricks. You can choose not to employ them. But I feel like not everyone I meet will be cooperative and that’s why it’s handy to keep the “dark arts” in my back pocket when I encounter non-cooperative people.