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How to get a demanding employee to negotiate

My kids came home from school proudly telling me they had learnt the difference between a need and a want. This is great. My son now knows he wants a play station, he does not need one and, to his great regret, he won’t get one. This is a distinction we make easily as adults: I want a VW camper; I don’t need it. Yet when it comes to conflict in the workplace (and elsewhere), we tend to stipulate what we want more than what we need: “I want a promotion. I want my employer to uphold my grievance. I want a pay rise. I want my colleague sacked.” An employer faced with a long list of wants can then be quick to conclude that the employee is unreasonable and there is no point discussing this as

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