From a very young age, we are conditioned to be compliant. Children are punished when they disobey the rules, and rewarded when they do what they’re told.
University students are not treated very differently. Just ask a professor what happens if a student submits a paper after the deadline, or above the required word count. Syllabi have become laundry lists of rules to obey. I’m not blaming anyone; We could not run the world without most people following a set of rules.
It’s all nice and good when compliance rewards you, but sometimes it doesn’t. Students often find themselves in such a situation when they receive a job offer. How can we reasonably expect a young adult to be assertive and stand their ground against authority when the opposite behavior has been rewarded their entire lives?
Well, this was the topic of a discussion with Mark Raffan, the host of the amazing Negotiations Ninja podcast. In this episode, we discuss why negotiation is so difficult for young adults, and my approach to empower them and give them a voice.
In case you don’t know Mark, he is a reference in Canada when it comes to negotiation. His podcast counts hundreds of episodes, he knows absolutely everyone in the field. I highly encourage you to follow him on Linkedin and to subscribe to his podcast.
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I am an associate professor of organizational behavior at McGill University's Desautels Faculty of Management, where I conduct research on the future of work and conflict resolution in the workplace.
I teach organizational behavior and negotiation at all academic levels. I also lead negotiation workshops for corporations and work one-on-one with managers as a negotiation coach.
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