Regardless of which side he or she is on, the chief negotiator is the face of the team, the representative of the institution or of the union. The negotiator must persuade, cajole, and otherwise advance his or her client’s proposals. He or she is responsible for assessing the impact of proposals, crafting effective contract language, judging the importance of different concessions, and, perhaps most important of all, maintaining the absolutely critical perspective as to what is crucial at the table and what is just noise. And finally, the chief negotiator sets a tone for the discussions, and his or her attitude towards those across the table can be central in how a given round is perceived by the other side. At best, the chief negotiator should leave the relationship as good as or better than he or she found it.

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