negotiating at work

When many people hear ‘negotiation’, they think a pay increase, but it shouldn’t be. Is a salary increase the only thing that can be negotiable in the workplace? From my experience, it isn’t. I’ve been able to negotiate other things from time to time.

If everyone shared the same belief and thought like we did, life might have been somewhat easier to navigate. Reality check— that’s not so! Learning the art of negotiation is the only way out.

At work, you’ll encounter various types of people with diverse personalities. It becomes imminent that negotiating your way around things and reaching a compromise mutually benefiting to both parties is the proper way to handle affairs in the workplace.

Some people are not aware of this and believe that everything should go their own way, but since you are a member of the Zinny Factor community, I’ll be sharing a few ways I’ve learned to incorporate the art of negotiation.

I’m not a master of the art of negotiation. Every day is another day to be better than I was yesterday. But if I’m being wise, I’ll know that it will be foolish for me to think that things will always go my own way.

Another thing to bear in mind is that salary is not the only thing you can negotiate!

One of the best things I’ve done for myself this year is making a conscious decision to read more self-help books. It’s opened my eyes to see areas of my life that were terribly lacking. One thing I’ve learned is that when it’s time to negotiate, you’ll have to keep your pride and ego aside and think of the bigger picture.

Will it be worth it to work as a team? Will this project be worthless if my whole idea isn’t accepted and applied? Will I be less of a human being if I choose to hear this other person out?

Oh yes, it could come to that— thinking about whether you’ll be less of a human.

But however obscure the questions may be, these are some questions to ask yourself when handling matters with co-workers or your employer. Most times, that feeling of nervousness and hate for your job may just be as a result of poor relationship with colleagues or your employer and lack of good negotiating skills.

I’ll share some points I’ve learned over time.

Salary negotiation at work

1. Establish a relationship

In the workplace, you’ve probably maintained a good relationship with your co-workers at least to a considerable extent. Of course, I hope you work as a team at your place of work.

However, if you need to work on something together and don’t share the same opinion, the paramount thing to start with is your relationship with this person. Try to come off as someone who is being genuine, share your insecurities about the issue at hand and come out clean.

Your colleague will only respect you as someone who is being honest and that’s the premise on which negotiation should be built. Personally, I wouldn’t want to deal with someone who has no integrity. Would you?

This also applies when negotiating with your employer.

2. Prepare ahead of time

The situation could differ. It could be a client that you need to negotiate with, or a new/ senior co-worker. An important thing is to know the person you need to discuss with if you aren’t sure of their tendencies and behavior.

Is this person an expert in this field? Do you feel you will be undervalued if you work or chat with this person?

Find out ways that you can work with this person, while also learning from him/ her. You should have built a relationship with this person if he/she is unfamiliar to you. Also, find out other co-workers who might have dealt with this person in the past and learn from them.

To reduce dissatisfaction at work, it’ll be a great thing to practice negotiation no matter how little. The reason is that the more you keep feeling that you have no say or perspective, the more unfulfilled you’ll feel at work, causing you to most likely hate your job. So try out negotiating tips every once in a while.

Read: How to Deal with a job you Hate/ Career Change – Q & A

Read: 6 Reasons why most Workers Hate their Jobs

Read: How to Love the Job you Hate

3. Rank your Priorities

Most often than not, what we want can be ranked based on a scale of priorities. It’s a good idea to choose what should come before the other and keep your options open. Consider what options you can do without and work on getting the most important option on the table.

You should understand what your goals are because it will help you build your strategies. Also, don’t forget to find out the goals of the other party.

4. Improve your options

Depending on what you are trying to negotiate, it’s always good to have a plan B as back up if you are of the impression that you’ll feel devastated if you are unable to win the negotiation or at least reach a consensus.

This plan B is often used as a position of power. It never hurts to have other options on your plate.

5. Listen attentively and ask questions when necessary

I can’t over emphasize this. I’ve realized that when you are silent you hear more, appreciate and understand the information better. Listening is very important when negotiating because you want to be aware of all factors and contingencies.

Asides this, listening builds trust because the other person has the impression that you are being attentive. It also helps you know the right time to respond and the words to use. I believe that there is power in silence.

Of course, you shouldn’t be silent all through. But choose the right time and approach when you want to respond.

6. Put yourself in the other person’s shoes

Often times, when blogging about the workplace it consistently occurs to me that it’s all about good communication and having empathy. You should be willing to share in the other person’s feelings. Is this person really in a position to make a conclusive decision? Is this person the one in authority?

During your conversation, think of the other person and try to understand what his/ her goal is. This will go a long way in saving you time and help you realize if you are making use of the right strategy.

Read: Does Culture Affect Your Writing or Communication at Work?

Read: 5 Tips to Improve your Communication with a Co-worker

Read: Become a Master: Effective Communication

In a nutshell, a few things to keep in mind when negotiating are:

  1. Power: The ability to influence or be persuasive and to understand all your options in the situation to affect the behavior of other parties.
  2. Information: Knowing what the other party would readily give you.
  3. Time: Knowing the amount of time available to reach a solution and saying the right thing at the appropriate time.

To arrive at a satisfying outcome from negotiating it’s important that you don’t take anything personally and that you respect the other party all through the negotiating period. Salary is not the only thing that is negotiable at your workplace as some people believe.

At a previous interview here on this blog, Ufuoma shared that she is able to have more time to travel because she negotiates time off. You should read the interview as it’s so inspiring. I hope that these tips come in handy and the most important thing to bear in mind is that you can pretty much negotiate anything at work!

Start small and you can build your way up, it’s good practice to try as much as you can to find happiness in your job, only when it’s unbearable and toxic should you look out for other options.

Whether you are negotiating a raise in salary, a change in job responsibilities, flexible time, start time, change in job position, insurance coverage, vacation, sabbaticals, training opportunities, perks, change in policy, or you are negotiating job responsibilities with a colleague at work, a client, I hope these tips will be valuable.

Negotiation in any form is not disrespectful as long as you don’t go about doing it in an abusive and ill mannered form. It shouldn’t be one of competitiveness but should be an avenue to share what you want in a bid to reach a resolution.

What have you been able to negotiate at work? Please share in the comment section, I love hearing back from you.

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