Win at Work With 8 Lawyer Moves
By Laura Morsch, CareerBuilder.com
Whether you want higher pay or shorter hours, getting what you want at work can be tricky. Not only do you have to tread carefully to keep your job intact, but you also have to maintain good working relationships with your co-workers.
To win at work, you need to fight your battles with consistency, confidence and come very well prepared. In fact, Lis Wiehl, legal analyst and author of Winning Every Time: How to Use the Skills of a Lawyer in the Trials of Your Life says you should approach your work disputes just as a lawyer would approach their courtroom jury.
"Since most of us don't want to be lone wolves, winning Pyrrhic victories at the expense of relationships with our supervisors and co-workers, the workplace is an especially fraught arena in which we need to advocate with confidence and consistency," she said.
In her book, Wiehl offers eight steps to apply a lawyer's technique to your own office disputes:
1. Know what you want. No lawyer would enter a courthouse without a clear idea of what he wanted to achieve. What is your goal? What would make work easier for you?
Let's say you want a raise. Your argument is that you're worth a higher salary. Make your argument so clear that it can't be undermined or weakened by your opponent's arguments. Then, make your argument a theme throughout your presentation.
2. Choose your juror. Who can help you reach your goal? When is the best time to approach that person? Many people instinctively go to their supervisor when they have a problem, but he may not be the person with the authority to help them. Find out who holds the key to solve your problem – and who will be the most sympathetic and willing to help.
3. Do your discovery. Compile evidence that will help you make your argument. If you want a raise, come armed with letters that illustrate your time spent on the job, excellent performance reviews, awards received and figures that demonstrate how much your skills are worth on the marketplace.
4. Advocate with confidence. Map out how you will approach your argument. What will you say first? Practice your opening remarks on a friend to help ease any nervousness so you can be calm and unemotional when making your case later on.
5. Counter the claims. This is where it is crucial to have done thorough research. The person you are speaking to might challenge your motives, offer hearsay, bias or prejudicial evidence. When you have a solid grasp of the facts, you can challenge all flimsy arguments.
6. Stay true to your case. Crying, becoming angry or emotional or belittling someone else will get you nowhere fast. Resist the urge to argue you deserve a raise because your colleagues do nothing but surf the 'net all day. Instead, stick to why you are valuable.
7. Speak from the heart and tell your story. Express your passion by telling a story that is directly relevant to your job and stay professional. For example, a human resource executive who wants a bigger office may say, "Supervisors have begun to complain to me they resent having to deal with their issues knee-to-knee in my office ..."
8. Sum it up. Reinforce how your personal goals advance your company's goals. "As a human resources executive, it's crucial for my office to have sufficient space and be inviting so employees feel comfortable working out any disputes to keep workplace morale and productivity high."
Closely following these eight steps will make even the most powerful or distant supervisors more willing to listen and consider your case – even if you've been turned down in the past.
Laura Morsch is a writer for CareerBuilder.com