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Even if you have a great working relationship with your boss, negotiating for an arrangement that is beneficial for you can be tricky and awkward. 

You might be worried that what you consider an achievement isn’t seen as one by your boss, or that your request might come across as a challenge to authority. 

All that said, the only way to get what you want at work is to ask for it. Here are eight tips from the book Negotiating at Work – Turn Small Wins into Big Gains by Deborah M. Kolb and Jessica L. Porter that can help you get what you want – without jeopardising your relationship with your boss. 


Figure out your concerns 

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Ask yourself: What do I want, and why do I it? The topic could be clear, for instance, a salary increase.

But how much exactly and why do you want it?

Do you think your performance calls for it? Have your childcare expenses increased? 

By zooming in on the reasons why you want something, you’re more likely to think of multiple creative ways that you could be compensated, for instance, you could get a bonus, more responsibilities, or additional support through your company’s benefits plan. 


Do your research 

If you’re asking for a salary increase, speak to colleagues to find out what others negotiated for and what they got. This would provide you with an idea of how your request would be received. 


Know who you are negotiating with 

Think about your experience with the person that you are about to negotiate with – what is this person’s communication style? What approaches have been successful in the past?

How does this person prefer to hear things – as a problem, solution or choice? These questions should help you craft your request so that your boss would be more receptive to it. 


Make it appealing for the other person to negotiate with you  

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You want to negotiate, but your boss may not want to. In other cases, your agenda may be hijacked, and your boss starts to direct the conversation. Some bosses may even disregard what you have to say. 

To avoid these scenarios, make your value known so that your boss will always want to listen to your concerns to ensure that you are happy in your job. Instead of just saving your achievements for the appraisal period and the negotiation table, share regular updates of what you have accomplished. 

Consider this subtle way of self-promotion: forward compliments from clients praising your work. 


Keep a positive vibe

If you find yourself getting anxious before your negotiation, try listening to soothing music or meditate to get into a more relaxed state.

Being in a positive mood has been linked to the ability to find creative and cooperative solutions. 


Link your requests to the greater good of the company 

If you can connect what you want to a larger organisational issue, your negotiator is less likely to view your request as a threat or demand. For instance, the manager position is vacant, and you want the job.

You could highlight that if the company keeps you as an executive, you’re inhibited from developing those relationships with big investors that are beneficial to the company. 


Be the creative spark 

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Don’t expect your boss to be the only one to find a solution to your career concerns. If you bring the ideas, you’re able to frame the negotiation in a way that is positive and productive for you. 


Focus on solutions, not problems

Perhaps you’re hoping for a flexible work arrangement to take care of your child during the week.

Steer your boss away from seeing this as a problem that he would have to deal with. You’ll want to come prepared with options so that he doesn’t dwell on the inconvenience.