How and Why Women Leaders Should Negotiate

by Lyn Boyer —

This article first appeared August 21, 2013, but it remains equally relevant today.

Leadership is the art of problem solving. When leaders, particularly women leaders, feel uncomfortable in one very important problem-solving arena, they lose some of their effectiveness. The video I describe below explains how leaders can also be successful negotiators.

women, leadership, negotiation, Margaret Neale

Click image to view the video.

Margaret Neale, Professor of Management at Stanford Graduate School of Business, speaks very knowledgeably about how to negotiate and why women should do it. Based on research about how women are perceived and how they can negotiate most successfully, Dr. Neale presents a 4-step process for negotiation. She includes ideas about negotiating for anything from salary in a new job to expensive shoes in a department store.

Beginning with the premise that women tend to feel uncomfortable with the idea and the process of negotiation, she explains that successful negotiation depends on problem solving: What can I accept and what does my counterpart need? Finding a solution that meets both needs is the key to a successful outcome.

Neale also discusses research indicating that when women negotiate primarily for themselves, they are less likely than men to be successful. They are penalized by both men and women. However, women are more likely than men to succeed when they negotiate on behalf of someone else. Therefore, she suggests how to negotiate for oneself from a standpoint of communal interests and expectations.


Lyn Boyer — Lyn is a leadership coach, consultant and online learning guide helping new and experienced leaders and teams maximize their possibilities. Previously, she served as a school and district level administrator and adjunct professor. She lives on the beautiful West Coast of Florida with her husband and two rescue dogs, Sam and Alex.