What is Diplomacy?

Definition: Diplomacy is the skill or ability to deal with people effectively to achieve positive outcomes. The term mostly applies to the profession that manages international relations, mainly between countries’ representatives.

What Does Diplomacy Mean?

The world is generally connected through foreign relations among nations and diplomats are government representatives that deal with international affairs. Nevertheless, this term can also be used in any context where relationships need to be properly managed. Diplomacy is commonly understood like a peaceful, respectful and productive manner of conducting discussions around specific subjects, aiming to achieve some kind of beneficial agreement or resolution.

Considering the other side’s opinions and beliefs as well as communicating self perspectives through non-aggressive manners, are key elements in diplomacy. In business, diplomacy is often useful and that is the reason why certain employees should learn how to apply diplomacy at workplaces. There are occasions when constructive, non-stressful debates are required between two parties in order to reach valuable results.


Martínez & Urrieta LLC is a firm located in South America that provides maintenance services to packaging machines. It was founded two decades ago and has 150 employees working at five different countries. The company operates with 125 technicians and 25 administrative employees. In Argentina, a new labor regulation increased all salaries by 30% and therefore Argentinean technicians suddenly received a higher monthly wage. Colombian workers knew about the increase and thought their wages should be raised in a similar percentage too. They also argued that they worked more hours per week than Argentinean workers.

Due to this situation, Colombian technicians decided to name a representative to deal with the employer to ask for higher wages. The Country Manager tried to deal with the problem personally but soon realized that tension between both parties was rapidly growing. He exposed only rationalist and financial arguments and workers did not accept them at all. As a consequence, operations in Colombia were negatively affected and clients started to complain. The Manager therefore hired a new Human Resources Executive with diplomacy skills to conduct discussions and negotiations in Colombia. After few days, both parties reached a satisfactory agreement and regular operations were resumed.