How (Not) to Ask for a Raise

How many times have you been tempted — or actually attempted — to finagle a raise by either using other people as a measuring stick for why you’re underpaid, focusing your attention on annual reviews or just outright asking for more money?

That doesn’t work, does it?

My best advice for getting a raise: Don’t ask at all.

Rather, determine which factors or objectives your boss — the person who has the power to approve or deny a raise — values the most. Is it a stated mission to improve market share? Or is it a subtle desire to be promoted to company vice president?

Then, on a consistent basis, produce results that support your boss’s high overt or covert priorities. Continually develop ideas that help your organization conquer emerging markets, for example, or arrange for your boss to regularly look good in front of his boss by maintaining strong sales numbers, landing a major client or creating a new program.

In other words: Make his priority your priority, and good things will happen for both of you.

Remember, your boss has company money that can be moved around, and although he’s unable to print money, he can redistribute existing funds. You want to prove yourself to be of such personally vital value that you become a higher priority — and, as a result, dollars are shifted to you from somewhere (or someone) else.

Apply the law of the farm: Plant, nurture, and voila, you will reap what you sow. It’s all about performance — not begging or whining.

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