Some people believe negotiation skills are taught, not inborn. While this is true in some cases, your birth order does give you innate strengths and weaknesses that can serve or hinder you in the business world. Once you know the innate traits of your birth order, you can capitalize on those strengths and work to improve the weaknesses. Eventually, you will become an excellent employee and negotiator.
Oldest children are the people we usually think of as neat, organized, natural leaders, and often more than a bit bossy. According to experts like psychologist Dr. Kevin Leman, this is often because they had Mom and Dad to themselves for months or even years before the birth of siblings. They’re more likely to grow up acting like little adults and succeed as leaders like CEOs, head teachers or principals, or the top artist, novelist, or musician in their field. Firstborns will negotiate with confidence and can easily enumerate reasons why their way is the best way to do something. They should watch out for perfectionist tendencies, as well as the tendency to demand their own way or to rebel if they don’t like someone else’s decisions.
Middle children are in a unique position because they grew up with older and younger siblings, so they learned to negotiate from an early age. They were neither babied nor given the oldest child’s responsibilities, so they may have socialized more outside the family to fit in. Middle children often thrive socially. They’re good negotiators because ultimately they want everyone to win, so they’ll find ways to make that happen. Middle children should be careful of being walked on; for instance, they traditionally report making less at work than oldest or youngest children. They should also avoid getting in a rut and should push themselves to take advancement opportunities.
Youngest children love people, attention, and approval. If the needs for attention and approval aren’t met, they can experience burnout or rebel against authority. Youngest children are creative and persistent. A youngest-born child generally has no trouble asserting him or herself, especially when feeling railroaded. Youngest children should avoid the tendency to manipulate in negotiations. They should also be willing to let others share the spotlight.
Only children are sometimes called super-firstborns. They are more organized and articulate than most firstborns, even if the firstborn has several siblings. These are the hard-driving negotiators who can and will negotiate all day if they need to. Like youngest children, they are innovative and love it when their ideas are adopted. Only children should stay open to constructive criticism and avoid becoming workaholics.