Q & A Table of Contents
They've Got The Skills We Lack, So They Don't Treat Us With Respect
From: Deborah, Mooroobool, Australia
Question: We are currently negotiating our employment agreement in the hospitality industry. I have some skills associated with negotiation but nothing compared to our General Manager and other members of the managing team.
Because of the difference in education and skills our staff representatives are treated condescendingly and rudely by management. They tell half truths, only give out information that they feel that they need to tell us. Therefore we are making decisions with only half the information, and without an understanding of the management's' point of view.
How do we overcome our feelings of inferiority that prevent us from negotiating successfully? We feel that our concerns such as the cost of living etc aren't being considered as important issues.
Response: It sounds as if your priority should be to learn more about the negotiation process. If you belong to a labor union, the union should be able to recommend the techniques they normally use in the bargaining process.
If you are not members of a labor organization, you need to learn about negotiation by taking courses at nearby universities -- or sending one or more of your group to a course being offered at a university. You can also read books on the subject -- and here I'll insert a commercial message promoting Negotiating Skills for Managers, which I wrote and is published by McGraw-Hill. There are also companies, like The Negotiation Skills Company, Inc., which offer courses on negotiation for organizations and individuals. Generally speaking, in-house training is likely to yield longer-lasting results.
Perhaps you can interest management in organizing a joint course for themselves and members of your part of the organization would be likely to improve relations and make the negotiation process go more efficiently and yield better agreements.
Negotiation is based on information. The better you prepare regarding the substantive issues prior to the negotiation process, the more confident you will feel when it comes to the face-to-face bargaining. If you read Negotiating Skills for Managers take a close look at Chapter 5. The tool it offers, the Interest Map(c), can save enormous amounts of time and effort and reduce your insecurity significantly.