Let’s start with what not to do. In fact the worst thing you can do is to rock up to your boss and say I deserve a pay rise. Your request will most likely be met with a cynical expectation for you to “prove it”. When this happens most people flap around trying to find an argument to justify their request – don’t be that person.
An even worse thing you can do is say give me what I want or I’ll leave. When I was at the union I often advised frustrated union members against this course of action. I used a line that was taught to me: never throw your keys on the table because your boss might just pick them up. Later as a boss, I picked the keys up much to the surprise of the employee giving me the ultimatum.
On to what you should do. Here are three ideas to get you thinking.
1. Do your evidence preparation
You need to be able to have well prepared answers to the following questions.
A. Why should you get a pay rise?
Good response: I’m working at a higher level of skill and responsibility, which is benefiting the business with examples or I’m adding value to the business in these ways with examples
Bad response: I’m a good worker or I’m better than my colleagues on the same rate of pay, full stop.
The supremely worse response to this question is because I need it to buy something. I’ll say it before your boss does, it is not your boss’s job to fund your lifestyle choices, that’s what self-development is for.
I’d encourage you to do some background research to be able to come up with some information that you can leverage.
B. Business is a bit tight right now and how can I give it to you and no one else?
Good response: I’ve been looking for ways that I can add value or take on additional responsibilities that will lead to improvements for the business. I’d like you to consider my individual contribution in the role rather than about me personally, with examples.
Bad response: I’m not in control of how much money you make, I work hard and I deserve a pay rise.
Don’t ever back anyone into a corner, because more often than not, they come out swinging. I recall an employee who tried this line with a boss and the boss spent 60 minutes lecturing the employee on all the poor performance amongst the team that was reducing profitability.
2. Prepare your emotional self for the meeting
Too often employees confuse assertiveness with false pride (build themselves up to be invulnerable) or take a meek and submissive approach (just be kind to me) when it comes to asking for what they want.
By being your assertive self-aware self, warts and all, you will build a better relationship with your boss. This will enable you to broach the tougher conversations like pay rises; your boss will trust your motives more.
And, by treating the situation as a learning opportunity you will reduce the emotional stress responses, enabling you to be more open and objective.
In the discussion listen more than you speak. By getting the other side talking and sharing lots in negotiations, you get of clues and information that you can use.
The most effective negotiator I worked with barely said anything – he waited for the opposition to exhaust themselves and used what he heard to structure an outcome.
And don’t spend your time in there defending everything being said. Instead stay open to hearing things from your boss’s view point. Find out your bosses why’s and why nots to your request, so you can build the right solution to meet both your needs. You can always ask to think about things and come back another time.
3. Zen the outcome
Time to transcend the old patterns of win and lose and try something I have found very useful. Let go of the outcome. In fact the better advice is, stay open to the solution that emerges from the discussions, never a fixed or predetermined outcome.
The yes you get might be a commitment to review in an agreed time, it might be a yes on certain performance conditions. Progress towards something is still a win in my book.
You might get a no, and there is still so much value to derive from that – what did you learn, how would you do it differently next time, what opportunities has the no made you now consider.
If you are doing a good job, most reasonable bosses will give you a yes as long as you give them something of value in return. Your job is to pitch that value to them and let go of a predetermined outcome, in favour of creating the best solution you can.
If you are in Cairns next week I am presenting at the CBWC luncheon on 18th July on the Whacky World of Work: Staying Sane and Succeeding. Please come join us for lunch and loads of laughs. You can get more information through this link: https://www.trybooking.com/book/event?eid=287121
Next week, it’s all about leadership and a I’ve got a fun surprise to get you more aware of your leadership style.
All the best,
Human Resources & Leadership Strategist
I solve workplace issues quickly and positively and I coach leaders to do the same