When I was still working in a corporation, I had a conversation that I always remember.
A colleague of mine shared how she would have liked to keep working for the company, but her contract was going to expire. I asked what options she had, and one was to ask for a permanent contract and a raise. Immediately after telling me this option, she started explaining how this was difficult, that the department lacked the budget for it, etc.
At one point, I stared at her and asked: “why are you playing both parties? You are talking to me as if you were your boss, explaining why it is a no. But you did not even ask, and your part is only to ask, let them answer “no” if they want to”. She stared back at me and said: “Yes, indeed. No clue why I am doing this”.In my current job as a coach, I see this sequence again and again, especially in people that are great in changes of perspectives and in putting themselves in other’s people shoes.
However, these strengths may become a limit in a negotiation, as this could keep dreams smaller than they could be. Empathizing too much with the counterpart could limit what we ask for, as we are already justifying the possible negative answers in our head.
If empathy is one of your strengths, keep this in mind while preparing for a negotiation, and let the others say yes or no!