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Look for a Benefactor Before Negotiating

Do you have benefactors on your side? Cultivating benefactors in your professional network could increase your leverage in negotiations.

At Gardner Employment Law, we can help you identify benefactors so that you can leverage relationships to your advantage. To learn more, give us a call today.

What Are Benefactors in the Workplace?

Many people think of social networking to create relationships, but having benefactors provides enhanced relationships. Generally your network consists of friends, family, coworkers, and social media contacts. Benefactors are more than that.  Benefactors are the people within the company who will go above and beyond to uplift and support you in your career.

Ideally, a benefactor is an upper level executive or someone who is connected with persons in upper level positions. The higher in management, the better. A benefactor knows your quality of performance and will attest to your abilities in a positive light. Good benefactors have clout and are not afraid to speak their mind. They are trustworthy, principled, and respected. And most of all, a good benefactor is willing to go out on a limb for you.

When assessing who might be your benefactor, ask yourself, “Who are persons with whom I have worked closely in the past?” and “Are they respected, principled, trustworthy, and will they go out on a limb to help me?” Building relationships with those people who will vouch for you is critical when you need help gaining leverage in negotiations.

How Can Benefactors Help When Negotiating?

Asking benefactors to help you in the negotiating process can take a bit of finesse.  The first step is to identify the right person to approach. As we discuss in Corporate Politics, “The first step to removing an obstacle in your career path is to recognize who befriends and supports you at work and who seems to be more of an adversary.” Even in the workplace, human nature presents opportunities for support but also for controversy. Also, keep in mind that you would do the same for the benefactor if the situation were reversed. The relationship must be genuine.

Once you have identified a person as a potential benefactor, you must think critically about how the person could assist in your negotiation plan. As Forbes writes, “To get on a fast track to a promotion, take senior management off their pedestal and figure out what their preference, perspective and time requirements are.” If you gain clarity about the important decision makers’ goals, priorities, and needs, you can identify relationships that connect to the decision-maker in your negotiation.

Once you know the right people and you have built the right relationships, you are ready to “call in your markers.” As a top performer, you likely have gone above and beyond your job duties to help this person identified as a benefactor to achieve company goals in the past. It is a fair question that you will ask the person, with the concept being: “I helped you succeed in the X project; now will you help me?”

Be clear in your request about why you need the person’s help and who, what, and when you need action. Essentially you are asking the person to discreetly put in a good word for you with the decision-maker. Give your benefactor the background facts and a persuasive reason why you are making the request. He or she needs to understand the situation. Then identify the decision-maker, what you would like the benefactor to do, and when the action is needed. If there is no harm or detriment to the benefactor and all of the above listed criteria are present, most times the benefactor will be glad to help you.

How Do I Use Benefactors During Job Searches?

During a job search you may feel that you are starting from scratch, but that is not necessarily the case. Your professional relationships from past jobs can serve as references.  Also, you can research personnel within the company to find people that you know.  Contact them ahead of time and ask for their assistance.

Make the effort to connect with someone within the company other than the hiring manager or interviewer. Not only can you gain valuable information about the working environment, but you can potentially find people who will put in a good word for you to the hiring manager. Show people within the company that you are eager to learn more and go the extra mile.  This will benefit you long term.

Ultimately, the process is about using connections within your network to your benefit.  To repeat, you are engaging in genuine relationships and would be glad to help these persons if they were to ask the same of you. In fact, people many times feel honored that you have valued their stature enough to ask for their help. Good relationships can help you achieve tremendous feats in the negotiation process.

Contact Us

At Gardner Employment Law we can arm you with the legal principles and knowledge to help you take your career to the next level. If you need a lawyer who can help you leverage benefactors so that you have the strategies you need to be successful, contact us today.

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