The UK is due to leave the EU on March 2019 in the next 48 hours.

Its hoped EU leaders will agree enough progress had been made to finalize the divorce deal and set out post-Brexit trading relations.

But here’s the thing - Many predict an unsuccessful conclusion for the UK negotiations whether there is, or isn’t a deal.

As someone who provides negotiation training for Executives and Managers I’m always greeted with raised eyebrows when I explain to delegates the benefits of deciding to be disliked or even willing to upset other people in order to achieve your desired goal -

What some may interpret as being an a**hole. 

Moral philosopher Aaron James, in his 2012 book, 'Assholes: A Theory', gives a more precise meaning to the word being:

A person, who considers them-self of greater moral or social importance than everyone else; who allows themselves to enjoy special advantages and does so with an entrenched sense of entitlement; feels not to be questioned and is the one who is chiefly wronged.

Sound like anyone you know?

Ok, if you have a person in your head like that ask yourself a question; Are they financial well off or do they hold a position of high office at work or in society?

Statistically they probably do because they demonstrate a very specific personality trait that others don't.

Without getting into 80 years of research take it from me that its generally accepted in the field of Psychology that we have five (5) personality traits that govern all human behaviour;

Openness to new experience. Agreeableness Extraversion Conscientiousness and; Neuroticism

You’re already thinking which one you relate to, aren’t you? :)

Believe it or not out of the five (5) traits one performs much better in terms of gaining professional success, succeeding in both confrontational encounters and negotiation.

The trait is the ability to have a 'Lack of Agreeableness'.

This group is so effective because they have the ability to separate any emotion from their goal, especially when the goal is significantly important and by default will have a lot of emotion surround it.

Furthermore, a recent study from the 'Journal of Applied Psychology' also suggests that its advantageous when entering into negotiations for both parties to have people who share a lack of agreeableness. The reason is that they push harder and often arrive at a much better outcome for everyone.

But, its crucial to note that “being disagreeable” does NOT mean being aggressive, unpleasant or nasty.

In fact, being disagreeable doesn’t mean you’re not friendly, outgoing or pleasant, it’s just that you’re more willing to ruffle feathers and occasionally tell people things they don’t want to hear.

So, as the clock ticks down to Brexit on March 29th 2019 I wonder if Team UK will reflect whether it would’ve been advantageous to have more disagreeable people on the negotiation team?

For now we can only wait and hope the Prime Minister has put together our best negotiating team. Some confidence may be found in the belief that if more a**holes were needed for negotiation then its very possible Parliament would've provided a healthy pool of candidates to choose from :) 

Find out more about our 'Influence and Negotiation' course here.