With so many of us in lockdown over recent months, we have been focusing on the power that comes from knowing your values and getting clear on your priorities while establishing the right boundaries for you and your situation. In short, we have been encouraging you to reflect on what is important to you right now.
For some, the answer to that question may mean you require more flexibility. For others, perhaps it’s a sidestep in your organisation or a promotion. No matter what the answer is, we hope it’s helped create some clarity on your priorities. What many of you are now asking us is how exactly you should go about negotiating a new way forward that better serves you.
Last Friday, our founder and CEO, Prue Gilbert sat down with the founder of PepTalkHer, Meggie Palmer, to discuss the art of negotiation. So, if you find yourself in a position where you need to ask for something from your boss – be it a pay rise or a promotion or more flexibility – here are some tips drawn from their discussion.
Remember, a negotiation is a discussion: The word ‘negotiation’ is defined as ‘a discussion aimed at reaching an agreement’. “Sometimes we think it’s a fight and we’re going into battle and this is a war zone, but let’s just break it down – it’s a discussion,” said Meggie. “You both have something that you want, and ultimately, you’re looking for an outcome.”
Acknowledge your fears and ask the question: Ahead of a negotiation, women, in particular, can worry about being seen as difficult or greedy or high maintenance. “They are some of our fears and our fears are real,” said Meggie. “It’s helpful to acknowledge that and then do the work to reframe it. To say, ‘Well actually, am I being difficult or am I giving the company an opportunity to help me be happy, to help me be successful, to help me be productive?’ That’s a helpful reframe.” Often these fears can leave employees ruminating over an issue instead of asking a question to reach a solution. So, if you need a standup desk for your home office or more flexibility in your workplace, book in a time and ask the question. As Meggie said, your employer might say no, but they also might say yes.
Do the thinking beforehand, and arrive at the discussion with solutions: “When we talk about negotiation, it is also incumbent on us to not just come with problems, but to have done some of the mental gymnastics to come up with some interesting solutions,” said Meggie. “Do that thinking beforehand. You will feel better and it will also position you as a solutions-based employee.”
Mitigate bias by reframing your ‘ask’: Approaching the conversation with positivity and solutions will also help you mitigate any potential biases your boss may hold. “We know that, particularly for women, this is very important,” said Meggie. “So anything that you’re negotiating or asking for, if you can frame it with a solution in mind, with a positive outcome, the way that you’re perceived will be better and you’ll get to a better outcome as well.”
So, as the pathway out of lockdown has been revealed and we approach the last quarter of the year, we encourage you to use this renewed enthusiasm to go after what you want. If you haven’t completed your professional vision or Employee Value Proposition, now is the time to do it.