Compromise is a hard lesson we begin to learn to understand from childhood. We’re taught to let someone else play with a toy first so we can get to watch TV for one hour, but as we grow older, the stakes for compromising get bigger. Just because you’re told you’ve got to give up a perk or take on extra hours at the office and you said you were ok with it doesn’t mean it’s ok.
When you know that your supervisor has gotten what he/she wants but you’ll be stewing in your desk, there’s got to be some changes made. You need to learn the art of the negotiation. As Forbes contributor Lisa Gates notes, when it comes to dealing with your workplace success, “compromise is not the goal of negotiation, finding your way to agreement is.” In fact, Gates notes that compromising is simply a potential outcome of negotiating. If you go into a situation hoping to compromise, it will only impair your creative ability for problem solving.
First things first, after all these years of compromising, you may not have actually understood the definition. It’s important to note that compromise is a two-way deal. Each part gives up part of the original request or demand. Compromise involves making concessions, or giving up something that you enjoy, and asking for reciprocity, which is responding to a positive action with another positive action.
Continually giving into demands without negotiating leads to feelings of resentment. The secret to happier agreements lies in concession. Research shows that people are happier when their bargaining partner makes concessions, even if you don’t get everything you wanted out of the negotiation. And this is because satisfaction lies in fair treatment. When you ask for something and get it to easily, you believe there was more you could have gotten. When you ask for something and are flatly denied, you believe the person was purposefully divisive. So before you compromise, first ask your boss questions, brainstorm ideas that will lead to an efficient solution to a problem. Negotiating may get you everything that you wanted, then again it may lead to compromise. In either case, because you negotiated, instead of immediately giving in, you will find that the situation will improve.