Introducing The She-Suite™ Club

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Have you hit the “glass ceiling” so many times, it feels as if the top of your head is flat? Has your journey through the executive ranks seem to have stalled out? Are your dedication and hard work going unrewarded? Are you feeling underappreciated or misunderstood in the workplace? If so…welcome to The Club!

“This is THE place, where like-minded, executive-minded, forward-thinking women come to communicate—collaborate—and celebrate everything that it means to be a career-focused woman in a male-dominated work environment. This isn’t about ‘us vs. them.’ This is about us making a name for ourselves—taking a seat, and truly owning that seat, at the executive table—and doing so not as ‘clones’ of men, but as authentic, self-confident, self-empowered women.”

Amanda Blesing

2 x Author; Women’s C-Suite Mentor & Executive Coach; Founder: The She-Suite™ Club

Where empowered women empower other women. Because when women win, everyone wins.

How to Ask for a Pay Rise Without Losing Likeability or Coming Across as Greedy

Asking for a pay rise without losing likeability and ensuring that you don’t come across as greedy can feel tough. The narrow socialised stereotyped norm of being generous, inclusive and putting others needs above our own, make it challenging for women, plus your own self view and your own beliefs around what’s appropriate for a woman come into play and make it even more challenging.  To help you skilfully and effectively mitigate the biases and assumptions, both your own and of others, here are ten tips to help you navigate this conversation effectively:

  1. Focus on Value
    Instead of framing your request solely around your personal needs, emphasise the value you bring to the company. Highlight your achievements, contributions, and any additional responsibilities you’ve taken on since your last salary review. These things shouldn’t be a secret. You and your manager should ideally have a routine where these issues are discussed regularly. But don’t assume your manager will have remembered. You need to provide this value evidence again at negotiation time.

  2. Research Market Rates
    Do your homework to understand the market rate for your position and experience level. This allows you to make a more compelling case for a pay rise based on industry standards rather than solely on personal desires. For women in particular, research says that aligning with a benchmark or standard helps to mitigate any potential loss of likeability.

  3. Timing Matters
    Choose an appropriate time to ask for a pay rise. Ideally, you should plant the seed 3-6 months ahead of a performance appraisal, then schedule a more official discussion that coincides with your performance review timing. Other times to consider include when you have recently achieved significant milestones or accomplishments at work. Plus consider when your boss is going to be more relaxed and receptive to listening – so not at a frantic time of day, not on a frantic day of the week. I’ve written extensively about timing in a previous article. Learn more here.

  4. Be Realistic
    Ensure that your salary increase request is reasonable and aligned with your contributions to the company. Asking for an exorbitant raise without sufficient justification, or when the company is not performing well, can definitely come across as greedy and also as not competent or commercially astute.  To help you prepare for this, quantify your experience and contribution over the past year. When you’ve got incontrovertible and quantifiable evidence of your wins, achievements, outcomes, differences made and how much value you’ve added to the department and/or the company overall, it makes your business case for a raise for brand you even more compelling.

  5. Keep your Range Narrow
    This is also important when negotiating into a new role. Don’t give too wide a range or you’ll likely end up at the bottom of the range. It’s a negotiation so if you really want and can justify a $20K raise, then ask for $20-$25K. Have your evidence prepared to back it up. If you want and justify a $50K raise, ask for $50-$55K. Have your evidence prepared to back it up.  This is not about likeability, but about being specific. And a little bit of specificity increases your believability.  

  6. Consider Non-Monetary Benefits
    If a salary increase isn’t feasible at the moment, explore other forms of remuneration such as additional vacation days, 8 or 9 day fortnights, professional development opportunities, or performance-based bonuses. And be sure to negotiate in another time to revisit the salary discussion, plus ask for clarity about what you will need to have achieved in order to be more successful next time. Don’t leave any of this up to chance.

  7. Be Prepared to Negotiate
    At a senior level it’s expected that you’ll negotiate anyway.  My favourite line is “given that much of my role is negotiation, I’d be letting you down if I didn’t negotiate”. Be open to negotiation and willing to discuss alternative solutions if your initial request is not immediately feasible. This demonstrates flexibility and a willingness to work together toward a mutually beneficial outcome. Have thought through the various scenarios and how you might respond. Preparing for a negotiation at a senior level is part and parcel of the work you need to do.

  8. Start Positive
    Begin the conversation by expressing what you like about both the role and/or company. This helps set a positive tone for the discussion. Side bar: This is also a very good tactic for if you ever have to make a complaint to a company about a product or service. It helps set the scene and to relax the other person and is a great way to ensure likeability.

  9. It’s Not About Them
    When you’re haggling or asking for more than in on offer, talk about what the department or the company might be able to provide, rather than what the manager can provide. By depersonalising it takes the stress away and allows you both to be more creative.
    Several of my amazing female clients find that after the initial conversation about the raise, the fine tuning of the nitty gritty of the negotiation often happens best via email. It helps to depersonalise in a professional way, allows you to use considered language and keeps the emotion out of it. And that’s a win for women.

  10. Use a Creative Problem-Solving Approach
    According to research, this is a tactic that really works for women and helps you maintain your likeability. For example, if you ask for a 25% increase and the company only offers 9%, ask “How can we solve this together?” and see what creative ideas come up from you both.

By approaching the conversation with preparedness, professionalism, focusing on value, and beliefs biases and baggage that might be hindering both you and your manager, you can ask for a pay rise without losing likeability or coming across as greedy.

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