Talking to the Boss and Getting What You Want

Talking to the Boss

Always approach your boss with respect especially if you’re looking for a really big raise, a really big promotion or anything you’re really not entitled to but want anyway.

By: Melissa Kirsch

Shorter hours, a pay raise, change of title, promotion. These are all reasons to initiate a talk with the boss. But remember this when approaching him about changing something in the workplace: Your boss’s number-one priority is to make sure you are satisfied enough to do your job well. Otherwise, everyone loses, including him. Always approach your boss with respect and promise yourself never to kiss ass unless absolutely necessary (a really big raise, a really big promotion, anything you’re really not entitled to but want anyway).

1. Set up an appointment to talk when there is enough time to have a real meeting, not when your boss is running off to lunch or at 5pm. on the Friday of a long weekend.

2. Know what you want to achieve before going into the meeting. If it’s a promotion or raise, you should picture that outcome and the steps you’ll take to get there. In other words, don’t approach your boss with just a problem; approach her with a solution as well.

3. Anticipate the worst-case scenario. For instance, your boss could greet your grievances with zero sympathy or your request for a promotion with a steely “I’m afraid that’s impossible.” Once you’ve imagined your worst fears, feel confident that you can weather any negative scenario that arises.

4. Come prepared with evidence to back up why your idea is a good one. Your quarterly review, market rates, written memos of recommendation — anything you think will strengthen your argument.

5. Keep your cool. Even if things start to get heated or you have to plead your case, you’re more likely to get your way if you stay calm and on point.

6. Be assertive and persistent. If you get a negative reaction at first, don’t back down immediately. You should feel like you’ve had a fair hearing and discussion, and not been dismissed out of hand.

7. If the answer is no, ask for the reasons why. If there’s no budging, ask if you can revisit the topic at a later date. You are entitled to ask for things. Your boss is entitled to tell you “no.” But don’t ever feel like you haven’t the right to ask. Change doesn’t occur without a catalyst, and that catalyst is more often than not going to be you taking a solid initiative.

Copyright © 2006 Melissa Kirsch


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