Negotiation or leadership? Here’s how to tell

Jul 01, 2019
New syllabus areas can be difficult to decipher in terms of where the examiner will strike. Here is some insight and links to practical examples to help candidates frame their studies in these new areas of the core syllabus.

With less than seven weeks to go till the FAEs, candidates should be ramping up their studies. An encouraging piece of feedback from the education delivery programme was on the leadership and negotiation material from the business leadership pillar of the core syllabus. On the whole, this new material has been widely welcomed by candidates as it is so readily applicable to their work environments.

Some candidates have been wondering how indicators in the exam should be approached. In our opinion, candidates should use their judgement to determine whether an indicator is leadership-based or negotiation-focused. However, there are some elements of the case you can zero in on to determine which indicator you are dealing with.


Leadership indicators tend to pick up on the ‘tone’ or ‘culture’ of the case. While reading, candidates should bear in mind that there could be cues or inferences that might lead to an indicator being framed later in the paper. For example, you might read about an ‘energetic, impatient CEO’ or ‘demanding boss’. This might imply a certain style of leadership to which you may be called upon to give comment. The core simulations paper from January 2019 is a good example of tone within a company being described in the preamble to the case: 

‘The business is successful and has grown to a staff of 25 employees all whom are delighted to work in a fun, if slightly chaotic environment with a flat reporting structure where the mantra is ‘work hard but play harder’.

As the case evolved, the first indicator homed in on the tone as a new investor was keen to change the organisational culture. The preamble was a deliberate setup for the first indicator. 


Negotiation indicators lend themselves well to having calculative aspects to them, as well as drawing upon the theories of negotiation. Candidates who are able to recognise the tactics and where the balance of power in these negotiations resides, as well as applying models to the facts of the case, will score well. Candidates should remember that in negotiation indicators, there generally is no right or wrong answer. Credit is earned for a logical, well-reasoned approach. 


The Education team thought it timely and useful to provide candidates with some examples of leadership and negotiation. Please use the following links to access a number of leadership and negotiation scenarios. The purpose of these is to allow the candidate to see worked-up approaches to the scenarios created. Credit to Joe Healy, lead educator at advisory, for developing these scenarios. 

Leadership scenario: click here to access the question and solutions to the leadership scenario developed. 

Negotiation scenario: click here to access the question and solutions to the negotiation scenario developed.