The word “leverage” implies some sort of power dynamic, like one person is dangling a carrot in front of someone else. However, when applied thoughtfully, maintaining leverage in your conversations with employers or employees can ensure that everyone gets what they need while also improving your productivity.
Let’s take a look at an example. I was working with one of my clients, Esther, who started a recruiting business for summer camps. She’s been making a lot of progress each week, but found that much of her time was spent tracking employment agreements between employers and candidates. Once the employer offered a job to a candidate through a verbal agreement, he/she no longer needed information from Esther because the employer had their new hire.
Without a written agreement, Esther could not move forward. Together, we decided to retrace her recruiting process to find a time when she had leverage with the employer. Because the employer asks Esther to post various job openings, we decided that she could “exchange” the posting of a job opening for the written employment agreement upfront.
She put this strategy to the test. When an employer approached her about their next job post, Esther asked for the employment agreement as a prerequisite. This way, she could avoid wasting time waiting for the agreement down the line. Because the employer wanted her to post the job opening, they sent her the agreement in a much more timely manner.
Ultimately, it is easier to ask for what you need when someone wants something from you. Using leverage in conversations doesn’t have to be argumentative or confrontational; instead, it can be strategic and time-saving. Trade is one of the oldest tricks in the book, so don’t be afraid to apply it thoughtfully to your everyday business practices!