4 Tips for Negotiating with a Subordinate

The relationship between a manager and subordinate plays a critical role in the success of the business.  Successful managers work to bring out the best in the people who work for them. While the relationship can be friendly, it is also the duty of the manager to make sure their subordinate is adequately performing the tasks assigned to them.  This means it is important for managers to handle negotiations with their subordinates in a professional and effective manner.  Here are a few tips for negotiating with a subordinate in a way that reflects mutual respect while also catering to the needs of the company. 

  1. Don’t Play the Power Card

It’s no secret that it can be very intimidating for a subordinate to negotiate with their boss.  However, this doesn’t mean that the manager gets a free pass to abuse their power.  It can be very easy for managers to use their authority to sway the negotiation.  After all, they are the ones with the power to accept or deny the request.  When managers abuse their power, it creates an unhealthy relationship with subordinates and will directly affect employee morale.  Therefore, managers need to respect their subordinates by listening to them with an open mind.

  • Clarify Expectations

If your subordinate comes to you with a negotiation such as a pay raise or promotion and you are not going to give them what they want, it is important to explain why.  Instead of just saying “no” managers should give a plausible reason for their answer.  This is an opportunity to clarify expectations for the employee and let them know exactly what they need to do to earn that pay raise or promotion.  It can be used as a teaching opportunity for the employee.

  • Listen

It has been said time and time again but listening is such an important part of any negotiation.  This is especially true with a manager/subordinate relationship.  When managers listen to their employees, it demonstrates mutual respect and understanding.  Instead of getting defensive or immediately telling the employee “no,” a manager should hear them out and give them an opportunity to explain their points.  Employees truly value a manager who is willing to listen to them and let their voices be heard.

  • Lead by Example

Negotiating is an important business skill and if you want your employees to become better negotiators, there is no better way to encourage that than leading them with a good example.  This means listening to what your employee has to say, backing up your points with credible facts, and offering a flexible solution.  Your subordinates will not only appreciate your willingness to hear them out, but they will be getting firsthand experience with how a proper negotiation should take place.