You are making great progress towards your goal! Remember, you deserve what you are worth. And if you are going to do it, do it the right way, the way you can be proud of yourself.
Step 6: Choose a good timing
These timings are to your advantage：
1. When your boss is in a good mood. Or in a better mood.
Most people are more cheerful and energetic in the mornings. Look for hints, if your boss walks to his office with happy whistling, or shows up in office in a bright color, they are in a happy mood. Or when your boss just got a promotion or a pad on the shoulder from his boss, etc.
2. Start early and give your manager time to prepare. There is a process for promotion, starting from manager nominations to final approval. The process can start up to two quarters before the final announcement.
3. Send your manager meeting invite. If your manager has back to back meetings every day, just send him an email saying that you’d like to have a quick chat at 8 am before everyone arrives.
Avoid these times that might work against you：
1. When the department is in trouble: when several people have just quit or when the team is cutting budgets and headcounts, etc.
2. Right before or during your manager’s vacation.
3. When your boss just finished a day of endless meetings, unproductive fights, and politics. People are the most irritable and inpatient when tired, usually near the end of the day. Good people can react badly at bad timings.
Step 7: Don’t take it personally
Anyone has the right to say no to a price increase, including your manager. Just remember: even if he does not like the idea of paying you more, it does not diminish your value on the market. I might be very upset if my landlord shows me a higher rent, but I don’t like my apartment any less.
There are many reasons why your manager can’t give you what you want. They can mostly be irrelevant to you: budget, headcount, fairness in the team, etc. Employers can sometimes be like our parent generation, who always think everything is too expensive compared to 50 years ago.
Step 8: Know how much to ask
Generally speaking, level changing promotions include a salary raise of 15% or more, depending on the industry. You can do some homework on salary websites and via your network and headhunters.
Step 9: Things that your manager needs to consider
If the company cannot satisfy your request and you resign, he needs to hire someone new, which is time-consuming and expensive. The company will consider the tradeoff between keeping you happy and getting someone new. You already have an advantage since you do not need training and already know the drill
Your manager also needs to convince others, unless he is the CEO of his own private company. He can try but he does not control results.
Are there people with similar tenure to yours in the same team at the same level? Managers need to consider the message to the team on any promotion. If promoting you means making other colleagues upset or feel unfair, the decision will need further consideration
Step 10: What if your manager rejected you on the spot
Such managers have near zero management skills, or simply do not care about you.
If this happens, think that the situation is his loss, not yours.
What should you do:
- Give your manager face and do not act like you just heard catastrophe
- If you have a competing offer to respond to, you can make it clear to your manager. It’s key to tell your manager that all things equal, you still prefer to stay with the current company
- Even if you are already committed to signing the new job offer right after the meeting, stay professional during the meeting
- Do not take it personally. Your manager can’t make everything happen. It may well be reasons on his side. For example, he needs to pick his battle, or he simply does not have the guts to do it, not even for himself
- See what else did your boss do for you? If you get an increase in salary without a promotion, that means they value you and want to keep you after all. And if the company did nothing, that might be a hint that you are not worth the battle. Then your priority should increase your own value
- Your manager might hint that the company could only consider your requests a year after. Then you need to judge if you can trust these words-this is super important and I have another post dedicated to this.
Step 11: Get it out!
- Keep it light, most likely your manager can expect what it is about
- Do not talk in a threatening tone. No one wants to reach an agreement under threats. A threatening tone lays the grounds for unhealthy dynamics in your relations. From the employer’s perspective, the purpose of a promotion is to encourage loyalty, not to create a monster
- If your manager doesn’t have much time, go straight to the point and say what you want
- Stick to your own valid reasons: I have taken on more responsibilities and contributed more value to the business, I want a salary and a title that better match my output
- Lastly, give your manager time to consider. You can say: “I just want you to know my thoughts. I trust you and I hope you will make the effort for me.” Always end on a positive note
Till this point, you have done what you can as an employee. Congratulations, you have demonstrated the quality of a confident and capable talent! Now the ball is with the manager.
As Sun Tzu said in The Art of War, “Know your enemy and know yourself, a hundred battles, a hundred victories”. It is critical to understand what is on your manager’s mind to under how you should react.
- Whatever you want, you have to ask. This is the one thing I remembered from tons of leadership principles from business school. Before I come to the United States, my former boss, an American gave me exactly the same advice: you need to learn to ask for what you want in America
- Your boss is your teammate, you need him to fight for you. You are not there to negotiate, you are there to recruit an ally
- No one wants a surprise attack. Prepare well and wait for a good timing
- Even if you deserve a promotion and you were rejected, do not just take any offer out of revenge. Stay until true good opportunities present themselves and then snap them
- Become an indispensable general on the battlefield, this is the rule in any company. Only value matters.
Now, what is your story, do you have any story to share?