This article was first published in MetroSanJoseJobs.com
Effectively managing your relationships is a major stepping-stone for career advancement and enjoyment. Learning how to �negotiate up� is a critical skill to possess as a professional. This article offers you ten tips for effectively negotiating with a new manager in two situations:
- When your manager is new to management
- When you are new to an organization
Situation 1: Your manager is new to management.
New managers often experience the added stress of living up to expectations, their own and others. Establishing a healthy workplace relationship with your new manager requires that you create a baseline of information about their communication and leadership styles within the first two to four weeks. In this instance, negotiating up involves you as trainer as well as staff member during your manager�s initial ramp up.
1. Communication style. Understanding your manager�s communication style helps you build rapport fast at the start and reduces the risk of miscommunication over time. Everyone has a personal preference for processing information, both receiving and delivering it; therefore, �flexing� your communication style to mirror that of your manager�s helps you avoid �tripping yourself up� when communicating your needs and equally hearing your manager�s point of view.
2. Personal philosophy. Your manager�s negotiating style incorporates elements of h/her personal philosophy; their guiding principles and personal values. An individual�s philosophy lies at the core of what they believe about themselves and the world around them. Given that belief systems often come loaded with �blind spots�, you will want to understand how your philosophy meshes with that of your manager and take extra steps when negotiating your needs to avoid non-negotiable boundaries.
3. Emotional hot buttons. Understanding what makes your manager �tick� and react unfavorably to certain situations can help you avoid unpleasant interactions. Emotional hot buttons occur when we are out of balance due to physical reasons, such as, too much stress in our life, not enough sleep, or skipping lunch to finish a report. Hypersensitivity to situations that embarrass them could cause h/her to over-react during the �getting their feet wet� stage. Your adeptness for navigating these emotional waves during day-to-day negotiations often pays off in forming close ties during their first year.
4. Expectations. Managing your manager�s expectations can sometimes feel like a full-time job! It need not be, though, if you discuss expectations early in their tenure. Negotiating up often entails re-negotiating your manager�s expectations of your role and your ability to deliver to their expectations. New managers often misunderstand the scope of their role and the requirements for meeting organizational goals. Re-negotiating expectations allows you to tactfully educate while ensuring that your needs are met.
5. Career goals. Explore how your manager views h/her current role. Does it provide a short-term opportunity for something bigger on the horizon? Perhaps, it is a stepping-stone to a longer-term career opportunity either inside or outside your company. Knowing this information (and you may not discover this until the two of you have established trust), allows you to manage your business with their immediate and long-term career goals in mind. Negotiating wins for your manager is just smart business.
Situation 2: You are new to an organization.
Joining a new organization requires you to ramp up quickly to develop rapport and trust with your manager. Building upon the five negotiating tips for a new manager, focus on defining these additional five areas within the first four weeks of joining a team.
6. Strategic goals. Your first three or four meetings give you opportunities to identify your manager�s communication style, build personal rapport, and understand the group�s key objectives. Skilled negotiators research first and then �listen between the lines� for what is being said and what is missing. Explore whether two parallel set of goals exist for your manager; those that move the company, business unit, and department forward, and those that keep h/her up at night, i.e. corporate politics. Your career objective is to help them solve both.
7. Leadership style. A manager�s leadership style will align more closely with their negotiating style, which includes personal values and their formal and informal needs. Keep this information front and center and practice applying it when proposing new projects, pitching ideas, or asking for funding. You will soon discover how easy it is to flex for different negotiating situations.
8. Recent setbacks. General research of the organization should include how your manager handles adversity as a leader. Explore a recent career or business setback for your manager. Great news if they used a challenge to rally the team and build closeness among the members. Perhaps, though, their response was to keep to themselves and become secretive with information or they allowed their emotions to swing like a pendulum. By knowing this information in advance, you can negotiate a different response and direct a different outcome.
9. Stress triggers. Similar to the emotional hot button, stress triggers are slightly different, though, because you can monitor and manage these areas yourself. Although you cannot control your manager�s irritability because they choose to skip lunch (although I once carried Power Bars to staff meetings for this reason); you can control whether you take the time to understand their communication style. If you know your manager�s style is results oriented, you can avoid surprising them with missed deadlines.
10. Political alliances. Whether or not you consider yourself �political,� you cannot deny that organizational politics exist. Understanding the people dynamics of your group and the interactions of your manager with his/her peers provides you with a relationship roadmap. Knowing the locations of uneven pavement, detours, and bumps in the road, you can help your manager negotiate human barriers for getting things done in the company.