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Saturday, April 25, 2009

Top 10 Negotiations of a New Manager

It's Not Just About Managing People
by Steven Brown

As a negotiation trainer I have found that people who are thrust into new positions have the most need for help. New relationships must be figured out, and in particular, determining the power dynamics. First time managers can easily identify that the people they manage require leadership and negotiation skills they must master.

There are peer groups and new expectations from management that can catch new managers by surprise. While I have seen a few managers lose their jobs due to their personnel management, the biggest challenges are often those from "above".

Figure 1

Figure 1 shows the 4 constituents a first time manager must negotiate with. Fortunately most new managers either lead teams or manage vendors or partners, but not both. Management, processes, peers, and organizations are certain to have expectations when stepping into a management position.

I recently conducted a survey of the "top 10 negotiations of a first time manager". The respondents were colleagues from my various educational, professional, and personal networks. I'm posting the results here to seek continued feedback and refine into a true top 10 list.
  1. Employee compensation packages, work hours, etc
  2. Employee annual objectives
  3. Personal compensation increases
  4. Mid-year benefit (eg - tuition/course, etc)
  5. Merit pay and spot-bonus for employee (negotiated with manager)
  6. Promoting employee rank amongst larger organization
  7. Vendor contracts, terms, pricing, including failure terms
  8. Project objectives, deliverables, timelines, resources, dependencies, etc
  9. Thrown into a vendor/partner negotiation mid-process
  10. Improving standards of performance for inherited team
Let me know if you agree, or have other suggestions!


Steve Meier said...

A high priority should be placed on negotiation with customer or customer surrogate. Whomever is the key recipient or consumer of your product or service.

Similarly there is negotiation with service and tool suppliers whether internal or external dependencies.

Within a team there is frequently negotiation with peers for dependencies and variety of work items.

I worry a bit about casting this all as "negotiation" as one should strive for as much strategic relationship building and long term view and not handle each encounter about getting the most you can in a single transaction. There are good articles on strategic relationship management which should give guidance on this concept.

Wb said...

I agree with both posts, just see them as situational and at different levels.

A true partnering relationship requires a strategic approach and a solid, repeated execution background to get to the table and stay there.

I think Steve Brown's post speaks to that emerging manager that is trying to build their results and execution background.

Negotiation as a skill, used in both situations, just very differently.

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