Want a raise? Afraid to ask for it? Here’s some advice that was broadcast by Walter Benjamin on German radio in 1931. The advice is not so much about tips and tricks. It’s more about being the kind of person a boss would want to reward.
- Timing is key. Don’t approach your boss just after you have underperformed on a project. Wait until you have done something great, the boss has acknowledged it, and the doors to his/her heart and mind are metaphorically open.
- Be confident… When speaking with the boss–don’t be shy, fearful, or submissive. Most bosses like people with gumption.
- …but not arrogant. However, never be impolite or arrogant. Simply remind him of your accomplishments and draw attention to the value that you have brought to the company. State the facts.
- Be direct. Above all, maintain your dignity, stay on point, and speak your mind.
- Own up. If your boss reminds you of a time when you were not productive, do not blame your poor performance on a colleague or circumstance. Doing so is unfair and makes a poor impression. Point out that you are loyal to the company, want to contribute, and are eager for greater responsibility.
- Broaden your appeal. Do not address the question of the pay raise in terms of your needs alone. The boss is interested in his business, not in the private lives of his employees.
- No threats. Do not threaten to quit. Your boss is likely to call your bluff. You are not an injured party. Threatening to quit never works.
- Watch your words. Do not use the words unjust or unfair when asking for a raise. A boss does not let himself be told to which employee he will give more or less pay. That is his concern. It is inappropriate to speak to your boss about other employees’ salaries.
- Be positive. Maintain an arsenal of courage and composure, dignity, and determination. Cultivate a fundamental attitude, a state of mind, an inner bearing that communicates the basic values that a successful person displays at work, with the boss, and in the rest of her life. Be clear, determined, and courageous. Know what you want. Remain both calm and polite throughout the conversation. Tune your antenna to your boss’s state of mind. Be curious about her perspective. Ask her questions about her career, about how she got promoted and won raises. You do not have to sacrifice your dignity in the slightest.
- Be prepared. Be composed. Do not be discouraged. Consider your struggles a kind of sport, and approach them as you would a game. Contend with the challenge in a relaxed and pleasant manner. If the boss says no, keep a clear head. Ask him why, and when you should approach the issue again, and what you can do to improve your chances. Successful people are never sore losers; they don’t whine and give up after every failure. In fact, they keep their chins up, weather misfortunes, and live to fight another day.
When you decide to ask for a raise, and you go cool and calm to and from your boss’s office, you are already halfway there!
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