Hi, J.T. & Dale: How do I go about having a meeting with my boss to get a raise? Whenever I discuss serious matters, he avoids giving an answer by answering with a joke. My boss has already said I am doing a good job saving money, and has now included me in the weekly sales meetings. I have not been given a raise in two years. – Lucia
J.T.: The fact your boss isn’t taking it seriously could mean one of two things:
- The company can’t afford a raise and he doesn’t want to tell you.
- The boss doesn’t want to give you a raise and doesn’t want to tell you.
DALE: Or, he may simply be working the old avoidance gambit: “Why do today what you can put off till tomorrow?” Shortsighted managers find this logic useful, especially if they are delaying expenditures.
J.T.: Whatever the reason he’s avoiding you, I would suggest that you find a way to request a meeting, and ask him specifically what you need to do to get a raise. Something like: “Can you please map out for me what you want me to do so I can earn a raise? It’s important to me to continue to improve my earnings. I’d be grateful for some feedback on what I can do.” Now, if he makes a joke out of that, then it’s time to look for a new boss!
DALE: Hold on. Let’s assume that he also will make a joke out of that serious request. You need to be prepared to call him on that… softly. Something like, “I know you like to joke around, and it’s one of the things everybody likes about you, but can I ask you, as a personal favor, to be serious for just a minute?” Even so, it may still require an additional “No, really, this is important.”
Then, once you get into the dance of negotiation, resist the temptation to explain why you need the money; you don’t want to seem to be begging or demanding, and you certainly don’t want to set off a whining competition where he tells you his financial woes. That’s why I like J.T.’s approach of “What do I need to do?” That question swings the conversation to you and your performance, and thus focuses the discussion on something over which you have control. This tactic is best when asking your boss for a raise.
© 2012 by King Features Syndicate, Inc.
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