Creating a Better Professional You, Part 2

A more productive you tends to be a more successful you, especially in the workplace.

Bosses notice when employees are high achievers, which leads many of us to try and push hard, at least for a season, in order to catch a manager’s eye and  parlay our productivity into a raise.

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How do you negotiate on your behalf when you step into your manager’s office for the big ask? It’s a tough question to answer because nearly every workplace is different. Despite these differences, though, there are some general principles you can adopt to give yourself the best chance of getting the raise you’ve wanted.

We’re going to give you four tips: two things you should always do and two things you should never do.


#1: ALWAYS Determine How Much You’re Worth

While quick thinking and rehearsed monologues may help you close a raise, they’ll be meaningless if you haven’t done anything over the course of the year worthy of a raise. Our guess is you’ve put in the effort, or you wouldn’t be reading this.

So, how do you go about determining how much you’re worth to your company? Give equal weight to your achievements and the national average for your position, says Shannon Gausepohl, a contributor for Business News Daily.

“Take stock of what you’ve done,” Shannon wrote, “and research how much people in the same field are making before you present the numbers to your boss during your conversation.”


#2 NEVER Threaten to Go Elsewhere

Sure, this works in the movies all the time. A hard-worker grinds away and saves the company money while the boss seems totally unaware of her achievements. When it comes time to ask for a raise, the boss is dismissive. The employee threatens to leave to a competitor and then, magically, she has the boss’ attention.

Unfortunately, Harvard Business Review said in a 2015 article, that’s not how things work in real life. If you threaten your boss, he or she will go on the defensive, which, as you’ve probably guessed, isn’t the best way to get them to pay you more.

Think about what will happen if your threat doesn’t work.

“At best, you’ll turn the conversation adversarial; at worse, you’ll paint yourself into a corner if you don’t get the raise,” HBR’s Carolyn O’Hara wrote.


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 #3 ALWAYS Plan Your Request According to Your Boss’ Personality Type

Bosses – and everyone, for the most part — usually fall into two personality types: direct and not direct. You should plan your raise request based on which one best describes your boss.

If she’s a direct person who doesn’t tip-toe through small talk, then don’t waste time with small talk. Send her an email or call her and tell her you want to meet to discuss increasing your salary based on the work you’ve done since your last raise.

If they’re more of an indirect person, it may be best to bring it up during a regular, scheduled event.

“Others might prefer a more nuanced approach,” Fast Company’s Molly Triffin wrote in 2014, “where you broach the salary question in the context of another conversation, like a weekly status meeting.”


#4 NEVER Disparage Coworkers or Compare Yourself to Them 

If you were a boss and an employee came in and spent 10 minutes talking about how much better they were than the person on the other side of the cubicle wall, what would you think?

We’re guessing “arrogant” and “jealous” come to mind, two qualities that definitely hurt your chances of getting a raise.

“Avoid comparing yourself to colleagues or complaining that you make less; stay positive and focus instead on how much you contribute,” O’Hara wrote.

The whole concept of asking for a raise is about you touting your own worthiness, not discrediting or disparaging your colleagues.


A Few Other Tips…

Aside from what we’ve mentioned above, remember that you should prepare for your ask. Don’t walk in and go with your heart – that’s when things go wrong. Know what you’re going to say and be nimble if your boss tries to knock you off-balance.

Also, be prepared for a “No,” O’Hara wrote. While not getting a raise won’t necessarily help your monthly budget, it can be an opportunity to learn what you can do over the next 365 days to increase your chances of getting a “Yes.”

The new year presents an opportunity for you to tally up new experiences at work. If you plan on asking for a raise, use the principles we talked about here and do additional research on what works and what doesn’t work. If this is your first time asking for a raise at your current job, be confident and calm.


In the meantime, come back to our blog for more tips on how to have a more productive 2017!

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