Whether we're speaking with co-workers or family, negotiation is part of our everyday lives. DailyWorth shares what holds people back from negotiating and a few tips on how to master the skill.
Have You Ever Asked For a Raise?
I pride myself on being a savvy businessperson, career focused, and ambitious, and yet I went 19 years without ever asking for a raise. I didn’t think I needed to. Instead, I just worked very hard and hoped my boss would notice and reward me. My strategy seemed to work — until the recession. Since the market collapse in 2008, very few companies are handing out increases unless an employee makes a case for it.
At home, I found I could always get my husband to say yes. Yes to where I wanted to vacation or go to dinner on Saturday night. Yes to new furniture or home repairs. But his yes never stuck. So I invested in a negotiation course.
Negotiation is one of the most powerful yet underutilized skills a woman can develop. Whether you are asking for a raise, seeking a new assignment, closing a deal, looking to telecommute, or trying get some help with the laundry, you need to know how to negotiate.
Here are what often holds us back and how to overcome it to master the art of negotiation.
Why We Don’t Negotiate
Women who don’t negotiate have a number of reasons why they avoid it.
First, asking for what we want goes against our “good girl” upbringing. Let’s face it: so many of the traits that got us ahead in the first place are the result of how good we are. We’ve been good daughters, good listeners, and good employees. But we fear a backlash for appearing too aggressive and pushy. Researchers and academics talk about the double bind for women. We won’t get ahead if we don’t ask, but if we do, we appear too aggressive. (One way to get around this: try framing the request to what is in the best interest of both parties at the negotiating table.)
For others, negotiating comes easily at work — but not at home. When it comes to asking our partners and families for the support we need at home, we freeze. And some women don’t negotiate simply because, like me pre-2008, they never tried.
Here are six steps to help you become a skillful negotiator both in and out of the office.
Stop Being So Good
The first step in becoming a skilled negotiator is to stop being so good. When women star in the good-girl role at work, they view their jobs as meeting or beating expectations, making their clients’ and bosses’ lives easier and trying to only solve problems — never to cause them. That’s not a bad way to operate, except when women view asking for a raise or assignment as being out of alignment with their good-girl character.
But if we truly think about what we want for ourselves, we’ll see that asking is a good thing to do. For starters, by asking for what we want, we are giving our bosses a chance to meet our needs. And in meeting our needs, we are helping them retain a good employee. If you are truly as good as the role you’ve cast yourself in, then the boss probably wants to hold on to you. So asking for what you deserve can only help both parties create a satisfactory working relationship.
The same goes for playing the role of good wife and good mother. How many of us can recall a time in our childhood when our mothers, tired of picking up after everyone, went on strike, and as a result, the family went into a tailspin? If we ask for what we want before we reach our breaking point, we’ll do everyone in the house a favor.