The Leadership Insider network is an online community where the most thoughtful and influential people in business contribute answers to timely questions about careers and leadership. Today’s answer to the question: How can you be a good negotiator? is written by Mike Tuchen, CEO of Talend.
The countless columns devoted to advice on negotiating for yourself miss a critical point: you don’t have to. Negotiations do play a crucial role in many aspects of business, but after you land your first job, you don’t have to bargain for the recognition you deserve if you plan well. I often tell people that if they want to eliminate the angst and uncertainty of negotiating, they should focus on three main factors that influence their career trajectory: corporate culture, the people they work for, and performance.
Be choosy about who you work for
The people you work for play the most pivotal role in determining how and if you will be rewarded for your professional contributions. Before joining a company or a team, carefully consider if you want to work with the individual or group, and why. We all know some managers that try to hide the gold — or take credit for their teams’ work — but there are many others that want their teams to shine. Seek out and align yourself with the folks that you know to be fair, and have demonstrated they support their teams and want to help them grow. These are the people that will go to bat for you when it’s time for a raise — which means you don’t have to.
Don’t be blinded by the brand
When you’re considering what company to work for — particularly if you are right out of college — don’t fixate on the brand on the door, or assume it represents the corporate culture. The group of people you work with are what embodies the corporate culture, and they will shape your day-to-day experience — not the brand. Look for organizations whose culture places importance on great teams, rather than great individuals. These companies are more likely to have groups that work well together, support each other and have shared values. When you work in a culture that fosters professional growth and opportunities, you won’t need to negotiate for career advancement — it will be offered.
Be the manager you’d want to work for
Managing means looking out for your reports. And the best managers know how to involve team members in high-profile projects, giving them a unique opportunity to shine and showcase their leadership potential. When you’re successful, a good manager will strike while the iron is hot and ask the compensation committee to recognize your performance. Managers that provide opportunities attract a self-selecting group, and that group will be comprised of people that want to work hard and prove themselves. By offering team members a chance to shine, you’ll build a more successful team and more opportunities will come your way too.
Performance pays off
Finally, and perhaps most importantly, when you’re in a position you need to perform well — really well. If you’re hitting it out the park performance-wise (and I’ll assume you are if you think you deserve a new job or raise), opportunities open up to you without asking for them. As the saying goes, “success breeds success” — people will want you on their team, and will move mountains to keep you, so that promotion, new assignment, or salary increase is within reach. Having a reputation for doing outstanding work also puts you in a good position to make a change if your role or manager turns out to be a mismatch — good work earns you the right to do so.