Step Three: Negotiation Skills for Women
Updated: Mar 25
This article is the second in a multi-part series that focuses on the skills women need to successfully negotiate almost anything. You can read the first article in the series here. Before reading this article, make sure you have completed the work through Step Two: Know Your Worth.
WHAT IMPACT WILL YOUR ASK HAVE ON OTHERS?
At this point, you should have completed steps one and two. You are now clear about what you want and are able to clearly articulate your worth to your boss, your team, and the company as a whole. Great work! Now you are ready for Step Three: Consider the Impact.
Here are the two questions you want to ask we able to clearly answer at the end of step three:
1. What is the impact of my ask?
2. How can I make my ask easier on others?
Both questions are equally as important. And you have to answer the first one to be able to answer the second one.
It's important to note that there is significant research that suggests that women can be over accommodating and that is something that can actually hold us back. That is not the intent of the second question. Our goal here is not to over function or over accommodate for others.
The approach with the second question is much more self-serving and pragmatic: The easier you make this ask on the people that have to do the work to make it happen, the more likely you are to actually have your ask be granted in part or in full.
Let's start with the first question: What is the impact of my ask?
No matter how deserving you are, typically your ask will cause headaches for your boss - and maybe your HR manager.
Let's explore one example: After working and excelling in a row for the past three years, Sarah wants to ask her boss for a 20% raise and a promotion to be senior director of surgical services for her regional health system. She has a very specific ask, including a date for when she wants the new role to start and a proposed scope for the role fo the job. She can clearly articulate her specific value to the organization, to her team, and to her boss - both in her current role and in this new role.
To begin, Sarah should think hard about all of the possible ramifications of her ask. I encourage people to think up, down, and across. Think about the work that would occur for the people above you. Think about how your ask might impact the people at your level, those that are across from you on the organizational chart. And lastly, think down about any direct reports or anyone that interacts with you that might be impacted by a change in your role or by your specific request.
So, in this example, if Sarah were to make her ask to her boss Marisa, the ask will cause a few headaches for Marisa. Marisa will have to complete cumbersome online forms in the HR system and may need to get the role approved from her boss. Marisa may be asked by HR to draft a new job description. On top of that, HR may need to perform a compensation review to make sure that Sarah's requested raise is equitable for the role and fair across the team.
Further, Sarah, a high performer, will leave a big vacancy when she moves into her new role. It will be tough for Marisa to fill the role during a tight job market, especially if there are no obvious replacements on the current team. Additionally, a few of Sarah's coworkers may be upset at Sarah's promotion or may ask for a promotion of their own. Lastly, since Sarah works with a number of vendors and internal partners, any absence in her position would mean others would need to pick up portions of her work to keep projects moving.
And that is where the magic of second question begins: How can I make this ask easier on others?
Once you have a dinner fied the major areas and people that are impacted by your request, you can begin to think about potential ways to solve for some or all of the challenges. The goal here is not over function, but rather True if there are steps you can take that make saying yesterday ask even easier for those impacted by it.
Let's take a look at Sarah's story again. In this case, Sarah could draft a short plan for how she would transition into the new role and help her boss find a replacement. She could outline suggestions around what projects would need to be picked up by specific people and which projects could safely be put on hold until a replacement arrived. She could help draft her new job description with her boss. And, she could provide the salary information she gathered in step two to help her boss create a best case argument for giving Sarah the 20% raise Sarah requested.
You are prone to over functioning, you may want to enlist a friend or peer that would be willing to take a look at your plan for Step Three. Ask just trusted advisor if it feels like you are being helpful to your boss or simply over functioning.
BEFORE YOU BEGIN ANY NEW WORK
Once you've identify the tactics you could apply to help make your ask easier, don't jump in and start completing every activity on your list. I recommend thinking through what specifically you need most for the meeting when you make your ask, and preparing those items only. Then, when you make your ask, you can offer your support to prepare the other item. There is no point creating plans and documents if your boss is not open to your request.
At the end of this activity, you should have two lists:
The impact people or departments will face if you receive all or most of your request
Specific tactics you think would help - and be willing to do - to make this ask easier to fulfill.
When you think you have a good grasp of the items above, you are ready for Step 4: Use a Communal Approach - Blog Coming Soon!
Nicole Provonchee is an executive coach and strategist that works with women leaders and teams across the nation. After 20 years climbing the corporate ladder, she started Bright Blue Consulting, where she can combine her skills as a coach with her practical experiences as a leader and executive.