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Assertiveness: The Art of Getting Your Way Nicely

Bonus 1: How To Assertively Ask For A Raise

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One of the ways that assertiveness can help you is when it comes to asking for a raise. Almost everyone is nervous and unsure about how to approach the boss in this situation. Should you act humble or toot your own horn? Should you make an appointment with the boss or just try to corner him in a social atmosphere and send some hints?

Here again is where the right sense of assertiveness comes in handy. You know that if you say nothing, nothing is probably what you will get. That yearly review will net you very little if you do not assert yourself now. Here are some guidelines for handling this sticky situation. Each boss or supervisor is different and may require some adjustments.

  • Before you approach your boss or set up a time to meet with him, crunch a few numbers and decide how much money you need for that raise. Each company is different, but most will consider a raise of a certain percentage each year to cover the cost of living increases. In order to receive more than that, you have to be a stupendous worker, with an awesome background, and a penchant for making money for the company. The more productive you are, the better your chances for that raise.

  • Never pop in on your boss or supervisor with a request of this magnitude. You have to set aside time for this. Just dropping in and making the request is unprofessional and rude. It would be inappropriate if you just break into his busy day asking for money. If you irritate your boss, your answer will be a swift and certain “no”. Always make an appointment to speak with him and allow enough time so you would not feel rushed.

  • Make sure that you both sit down for this appointment. Sitting comfortably is more conducive for this kind of meeting. Standing around an office makes it too easy for the conversation to be interrupted, and there goes your chance to talk seriously about that raise you need and deserve.

  • Do not waste time with chitchat. Your boss or supervisor is a busy person and so are you. This is not a social visit; so get right to your point. It may seem better and subtler to slowly introduce your concern into the conversation; but in reality, you are hurting your case by not getting to the point right away. He will respect you more if you get right to the main issue.

  • Make sure you have your script ready or at least some notes on what exactly you want to say. Nothing says unprofessional like hemming, hawing, and not getting to the point. So write down everything you want to say and focus on your goal -- make them realize why giving you a raise is in their best interest and the company’s as well. Make certain you have rock solid reasons for the extra money.

  • A word of caution too — do not, I repeat, do not discuss this issue with anyone else in the office. The walls have ears and the last thing you need is for your request for a raise to reach your boss’s office before you do. It looks unprofessional and indeed sneaky. In office politics, it is best for all involved if you do not talk about this meeting with anyone. Just because the meeting went well, you do not have the reason to assume you are getting the raise and for you to start spreading the word all over the office. Your boss will not appreciate it and it could seriously hurt your chances.

  • Do not expect your boss to give you an answer right away. He has figures to check and probably has to discuss it with the Human Resource Department before making any decisions. Even your boss has to be accountable to higher-ups too, you know. If he requests for another meeting, be sure to have extra information that could aid your cause.

  • When your boss does call you in for a second meeting, listen carefully to what he has to say. Even if the answer to your question of a raise turns out to be “no”, that does not mean it is the end of it. Be a good listener and ask questions when he is finished. If he does not bring it up, ask why you did not qualify for a raise and do it politely. Getting angry and demanding for concrete answers will not help you at all. Take a deep breath and calmly ask your boss what he recommends that you should do to increase your chances the next time. Find out how you can improve your performance. Be willing to do what is necessary (within reason, that is) to ensure that the next time you ask for a raise, you will receive a favorable reply.

Like it or not, the reward and punishment system is a fact of life. Objections to the system are a waste of time, since everyone uses it. Take to heart what your boss tells you about improving your performance and put it into practice as soon as possible. Your willingness to improve weighs in your favor.

In the meantime, work on your self-confidence. Each task you do and accomplish adds to your self-confidence. Also, work on your negative self-talk. You are what you believe you are. Think assertively, act assertively, and you become assertive.

Learning to be assertive at work will earn you the respect from your peers and your bosses. This might even increase your chances of getting a promotion and a raise in pay. Being assertive means speaking up for yourself, handling conflicts, and getting problems solved.

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