This article was first published by Kim Iskyan at Truewealth Publishing
Over the years, I’ve had the awkward duty of declining raises to dozens of employees.
All were disappointed. Some sulked. Some argued. Some disappeared. But a few of them – a smart few – took the experience as a wake-up call. They made immediate and noticeable changes and won the raise they wanted (and usually more) before the next performance review.
Here is how they did it.
1. Think of it this way…
They didn’t interpret the experience as negative or the denial as a definite and final “no.” Rather, they thought: “Okay, this is not the outcome I wanted. What can I do to get what I want from this man?”
This is not always easy. But it can be done. Take a deep breath. Remind yourself that no good will come from pouting. Tell yourself, aloud if it will help, that you have the intelligence and emotional strength to make changes. Make a plan to change your boss’s mind.
2. Surprise your boss
Write your boss a personal note telling her that although you were disappointed with the raise (or lack thereof), you understand her reasons and are committed to making changes that will hopefully change her mind. Make it short and sweet. Don’t grovel.
3. Make a plan
Spend some time thinking very objectively about your performance – asking yourself questions such as “Was I always early?”, “Did I stay late?”, and “Was I always eager, energetic, and helpful?” You will probably come to see your performance for what it was: less than stellar.
4. Start strong
Your thank-you letter will probably come as a surprise to your boss. It won’t change her mind about your past performance, but it will force her to pay more attention to what you do from then on.
The quickest and surest way to signal the “new you” is to get in to work earlier. Ideally, you want to be at work before your boss arrives. If that is impossible, get in a half-hour earlier than you have been and make sure your boss knows it.
5. Harder, smarter, and more obvious
You might think you are a hard worker. And you might be. But are you the hardest-working person in your department? If not, think of ways to do more. Coming in earlier is a great first step. But what else can you do? How about skipping lunch now and then? Staying late occasionally? (Coming in earlier is better than staying late.)
Of course, it’s not just about how hard you work but about how much you contribute. Spend some time thinking about that. How can you work smarter? How can you be more helpful? How can you provide more value to the business?
6. Attitude is everything
It’s not just the work, though. It’s the attitude. Think about how you can become more positive in your approach to work projects, how you can speak with more enthusiasm, how you might volunteer for extra projects. Think also about how you can be more positive in taking direction and criticism. Become the person who brightens up every conversation, big or small.
7. Improve your “now game”
Become better at the job you are doing by taking advantage of every opportunity that arises to learn more about your job. Take courses. Read books. Go to seminars. If your company won’t reimburse you, spend your own money. Become better at the job you want.
8. Improve your “then game”
While getting better at what you do, think about the job you want to get – the promotion that will pay you a much bigger salary. Figure out what knowledge and skills you need for that job. Learn the knowledge. Practice the skills.
And as with everything else, find a way to let your boss know about all this extra learning you are doing.
9. Help your boss plan your future
After a month or two as the “new” you, ask for an appointment with your boss. If she expresses concern about you wanting to talk about money, assure her that nothing is further from your mind.
When you get your boss alone, reconfirm your gratitude for the wake-up call, brief her on the changes and improvements you’ve made, and then ask what you can do to make her job easier. She will probably be flummoxed by that question. But insist. Say, “I’m sure there are things I can do. If you can’t think of any now, please tell me when they come to mind.”
This is a radical approach. Nine out of 10 people who read this will never give it a try. You may be the exception. If you are, you will see dramatic results.
Your income will improve in six months or less – and it will keep improving thereafter.
Before you know it, you’ll be at a whole new level. You’ll be on your way to becoming wealthy as an “intrapreneur” – a topic regarding which I’ve designed an entire program.
But just as important – or maybe more important – your job satisfaction will skyrocket.
You’ll like your job better because you’ll be better at it – and everyone around you will take notice, including your boss.
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