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From the Northeastern Section of the ACS, focusing on career management and development
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10/31/07
Negotiations at work without fear
Filed under: Job Offer (Situations), Mentoring, First Year on Job, Mature professionals
Posted by: site admin @ 6:45 pm

 So many times we hear about people who
comment that someone receives something
while the speaker is peeved that he has not
been equally rewarded. 

We certainly want to separate the notion of
being rewarded for “working hard” versus
“achieving a goal” or “coming up with and
implementing improvements or inventions.”
These days there is almost no place for expecting
rewards for “working hard”.  It is “expected.”

Then, we come to the notion of rewards.  The
best situations are– being rewarded with privileges
that one really values and seeks. 

Al Sklover is one employment lawyer whose
books, newletters and other writings I have
read for quite a while.  He opines– 
“If you
achieve, you will receive” - is surely waning.

Sklover finds many poeple’s difficulties stem from
simply never engaging in any form of workplace
negotiation on their own behalf. Instead of planning
promotion to greater authority and compensation,
some wait for it to come to them. While our
colleagues develop the knowledge, skills, and
relations the company would likely need, and
engaged in a degree of “self-promotion,” .

People create fears of: (a) being viewed as too
aggressive; (b) being unsuccessful in his negotiating
attempts, (c) upsetting his boss; (d) looking selfish
and greedy; (e) not knowing how to go about it, and
therefore making a fool of himself; and (f) somehow,
possibly, worst case scenario, even losing his
job as a result.

The fear of negotiating at work is very, very common.
What underlies the fear of negotiating at work?
Usually it’s an understandable concern that (a)
you will not know what to do, and thus, you will
stumble and look foolish to others, (b) you will
upset or alienate your boss, and (c) you will,
in any event, fail in trying. Each of those fears
emanate from a lack of understanding the process.

If you bear in mind that, done with care,
forethought, and common sense, negotiating on
your own behalf with integrity, respect, a sense
of what is reasonable, and with good reasoning,
there is little if any downside. While there’s never
any guarantee that you will achieve all you want
in workplace negotiating, you are nearly
guaranteed that your refraining from office
negotiating on your own behalf will result only
in your frustration, de-motivation and becoming
dispirited over time.

All employers want, Sklover admits:
(a) the best employees (so you should take every
opportunity to make and show yourself to be
that employee),
(b) the best employees to remain a long
time (so you should show yourself to be
someone who is a long-term thinker, and
deserving of long-term investment),
(c) they don’t want their best employees to
leave to a competitor (so you should ask for
what it will take to keep you, without
threatening to leave), and
(d) want their best employee to stay
enthusiastic (which they know requires
continual motivation and reward).
Good negotiating is a process to achieve
what your employer wants, and what you
want, too.

Negotiating at work is good for both you and
your employer, because its very purpose is
to achieve a fairness in the exchange of the
employee’s effort for the employer’s
compensation. A comfortable balance of
the two - in a range of “mutual fairness” -
is in the interests of both employee and
employer. If you don’t negotiate on your
own behalf, chances are no one else will.
If you don’t negotiate for yourself at work,
it’s likely you will not receive your just
reward, and you will be more distracted,
less motivated to push yourself to greater
achievement.

The greatest impediment to workplace
negotiation is fear. The best antidote to
that fear is a better understanding of the
negotiation process, and in trying it,
and seeing that it can work for you.

“WHAT YOU CAN DO:
1.  Your fears of negotiating are
considerably overblown.  They are likely
holding you back more than you think.

2.  Valued employment relations are
“two-way streets
 on a positive, continual
and win-win way.  It is a process of
making yourself more valuable,
involved and in turn fairly rewarded.

3.  In negotiating, view and make your
goals consistent with your employer’s goals.

4.  Many people don’t want to make a
an irretrievable error in negotiating.   Yet,
nothing ventured, nothing gained and
learn from your’s and others’mistakes
and go forward.

5.  Doing nothing might harm you or
your chances to get what you deserve.

The greatest risk is often a result
of avoiding all risks.

6.  Good faith, integrity and working on
the team’s goals are the key in negotiating.
You can still have your own priorities,
thoughts and goals to reach.  Yet have
a plan for your career path.

7.  Reduce your personal stress.  One
tool is visualization…

8.  Begin by starting small on things that
create value for you and the team.  You
gain confidence in yourself and your
supervisor by using good judgment and
pursue team goals that meet your needs.

9.  Since it is hard to achieve and
succeed without reviewing your plans
and practicing what you want to do
before you have to do it.

10.  Positive Attitude is a force multiplier. 

REFERENCE:  Al Sklover newsletter on
  negotiating in workplace.

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