Why Women Don't Ask for What They Want-and Why They Should
Most of the thousands of women we have trained to negotiate avoid asking for raises, hesitate before increasing their fees, and never, ever bargain with friends.
Negotiation trainer Jim Camp, who we follow and whose advice we often take, recently counseled his students never to make a friend of someone with whom you’re negotiating.
Here’s the core of that advice.
Golf outings, wining and dining–activities designed to promote personal friendship between you and an adversary can be detrimental during negotiations.
Trying to be friends can unleash emotions that interfere with the process, and can even derail it. Fear of tarnishing the relationship, hurting an adversary’s feelings or being rejected are common by-products.
I’ve been in the business of adversarial relationships for a long, long time – 32 post-law school years. During all that time, as women’s numbers grew in the adversarial ranks, I saw far more men than women behave as “friends” with their opponents.
The old men are better than women at adversarialism bromide was that men knew how to like their opponents because they’d played more team sports than women.
I don’t know what today’s explanation might be – what with Title IX sports and all – but I never, ever once saw a litigator cede his or her ground based upon friendly relations.
Not even when I was dating counsel for a co-defendant with a few interests adverse to my own client’s did either of us share information or consider giving an advantage to the other.
Then I married him – and one of us had to learn conflict resolution skills – but that’s another story.
Don’t Fear Conflict – Master It
Someone recently said that if women ruled the world, there’d be no more war but most countries wouldn’t be speaking to one another.
I think that pretty succinctly explains the primary stereotypic difference between the strong emotions women and men exhibit in conflict. Men and women get angry but men tend to retaliate and women tend to withdraw.
Neither gender likes conflict. It raises strong emotions in both genders. And none of us enjoy being at the effect of strong emotions (even crazy love can be painful and disorienting).
The key here is not conflict, however. It’s at the effect of.
When we learn what our conflict resolution style is (usually the one used by our families if we haven’t sent our inner children to Harvard) we no longer need to be at the effect of it.
And when we’re not at the effect of our strong emotions, we can use our heart and our head together to craft a deal that is better for both negotiators than either one might achieve by engaging in competitive negotiation strategies and tactics.