By Carol Hagh
Dec. 16, 2021
Does the thought of asking for a raise or promotion make you nervous? Most people say it does.
As an executive coach, one approach that I encourage my clients to practice involves an important principle of negotiation: creating a win-win situation, or what I call a “two-way commitment.”
Whether you are looking to secure a salary increase, a promotion, a lateral move, more flexibility or something else that makes you feel valued, respected and optimistic at work, follow these four steps to put this approach into practice.
1. UNDERSTAND THE OTHER PARTY IN THE NEGOTIATION.
Try to understand your boss’s perspective. While a part of their job is to provide you with useful feedback and support your development, they also have multiple, competing priorities — including balancing budgets, meeting business targets, managing your peers and progressing their own career.
You can get a sense of what these priorities are by paying attention to the announcements your company makes about business objectives and asking your manager how your work contributes to those goals. Similarly, make note of what your manager highlights or praises when things are going well and any concerns they express when things are not.
Take note of the work you do that specifically supports the priorities you identify.
2. SET YOUR MANAGER’S EXPECTATIONS EARLY AND OFTEN.
The last thing you want to do is surprise your manager with an unexpected request.
I recommend first mentioning what you want in a low-pressure way. If you want a raise, you might start with, “At some point, I’d love for us to talk about my contributions and what I can do to get to the next level.”
If the reaction is positive, consider it a green light to initiate a more serious discussion down the line. If the reaction is negative, consider it a sign to ask for feedback on your progress or performance.
3. PREPARE WHAT YOU WANT AND WHAT YOU WILL OFFER.
Write down your requests in order of priority. Which of these is the most important? Where can you compromise and where can you not? If you can’t get the first item on your list, have a Plan B.
Next, think about how you will articulate what you are going to offer in exchange. Your employer wants to invest in people who are loyal, enthusiastic and dedicated to contributing to the success of their company. It is very important for your commitment to come across in a way that is authentic to you.
4. MANAGE THE NEGOTIATION.
Go into the meeting with an egalitarian “we are both adults” attitude rather than that of a subordinate asking for a favor.
Begin the conversation by reminding your manager that you’ve been building up to this. Be sure to mention how committed you are to growing your career within the company before diving too deep.
Mention one or two things to highlight specific areas where you’ve made a big contribution. Then transition into what you want. Be brief and be clear, as a long explanation might sound defensive or argumentative.
Once you’ve made your case, pause to give your manager time to speak.
You may get exactly what you want or you may realize that you will need to go elsewhere to do that. The important thing is that you do everything in your control to get the outcome you deserve, and that starts with speaking up for what matters to you.
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