Negotiating with your boss

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in Dealing with Bosses,Office Management

Getting your manager to meet your needs is an important part of your job. Here's how to succeed when it's time to negotiate:

  • Be easy to say yes to. Be calm, self-assured and nonthreatening, approaching your manager as a partner, not an adversary.
  • Play to your manager's personal style. This may mean lots of charts and data, or big-picture narratives of a better workplace, or simply showing what's in it for the boss.
  • Pick the right time and place. Don't make your job harder by trying to negotiate when the boss can't offer full attention or sympathetic consideration.
  • Listen carefully to questions or criticisms. Read the cues the manager gives and respond thoughtfully. Don't think ahead to your next point while the boss is talking.
  • Document your requests. Don't try to hide or deny the weaknesses in your plans--acknowledge them and show how you plan to deal with them.
  • Know when to let go. If you can't reach agreement on an issue, set it aside and come back once you've reached agreement on other points. The conditions will be better for a workable compromise.
  • Ask, even when you think the answer is no. Your boss may surprise you. Even if not, you'll be providing an opportunity for the boss to get used to a new idea that you can approach again later. Respectful persistence can pay off.

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