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Practical Negotiating: Tools, Tactics & Techniques by Tom Gosselin

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Negotiating with Your Boss

One of the most common internal negotiation situations involves your boss. Picture yourself sitting in your office Friday afternoon with a full plate. The company’s downsizing has left you with fewer resources to get it all done; budget constraints and a headcount freeze do nothing to help.

Now your boss comes to you and says, “I know you’re loaded down right now, but I need this project done by Monday. I wish I could give you more time, but Pat is really hot on this. You’ve always come through for me before, and I know I can depend on you.”

You feel frustrated. These new demands mean that you’ll be unable to do your best. You won’t be able to finish other projects in time, which means not only disappointing clients, but also putting yourself at risk with the boss for failure to deliver.

What do you do? You know you’re overloaded. You may feel anger or frustration, but what good does that do? So you work eight hours over the weekend, missing time with your family and an event you’d planned to attend. On Monday, you submit a really good draft, which then sits on your boss’ desk until Friday, when the boss finally reviews it, and then wants all the changes made by the following Monday.

What will you say this time? You know what you’d like to say! But that might cost you the job you otherwise enjoy. What did you say? Was it, “Well, I’ll fit it in somehow”? Did you feel that you couldn’t say no because you wanted to look good? Did you think caving in was ...

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