It can be hard to ask for what you want at work, especially when you’re anticipating a lot of push-back. But, when it comes to important things like salary or work-life balance or working conditions, it’s essential not to give up. Here are a few tips for getting what you want at work, without alienating your co-workers, clients, or boss.
(Photo Credit: Felinest/Flickr)
1. Do your homework to get the paycheck you deserve.
Any difficult conversation is better attempted after thorough preparation. This is especially true when it comes to salary negotiations. Do your homework in advance so that you know what you’re worth and have the data to back it up. Develop strategies for the negotiation itself, and head to the meeting feeling super prepared. Use PayScale’s Salary Negotiation Guide to help you. It has everything you need to research, strategize, and finally, negotiate. You’ll come off as prepared and professional – nothing more and nothing less.
2. Listen as well (and as much) as you talk.
Being a good listener is more important than is immediately obvious. It improves your communications, and thus, your relationships. In addition, good listening skills help others trust and respect you, and listening is a favor that people want to return. If you’ve been there for others, they’ll be there for you. Work on becoming a better listener, and the next time you have something you need to talk about, it’ll be a lot easier to get the assistance you’re looking for.
3. Say “yes” to what you can in order to hold on to the “no” that you need.
When you’re asked to do something in business, it’s super tough to say no without looking like a jerk. Instead of downright refusing the task, try saying yes to the aspects of the request that you can handle. Make a point to be helpful, and then explain why you think you might not be the best person to help with other aspects of the request. It can be extra tough to say no to your boss, but if you keep your response short and simple, and if you show you’re willing to help, you won’t come off looking like a jerk for drawing a line.
4. Don’t hang with jerks.
If you don’t want to be seen as a jerk, avoid folks who have already gained this reputation around the office. Who you spend time with says a lot about you. If someone is known to be moody, angry, bitter, negative, etc., it’s best to not spend too much time around them. First of all, the negativity could rub off on you, and secondly, people could get the wrong impression of you if they draw conclusions based on how you’re choosing to spend your time.
5. Even when you know you’re right, embrace humility, and be willing to compromise.
It can be easy to get super fired up when you know you’re right about something and desperately want others to see the situation the way that you do. But, be very careful to not come off as arrogant when asking for what you need. Instead, try a humble approach, and demonstrate that you are willing to compromise. Just be sure to go into the conversation or the negotiation knowing where you’re able to bend, and where you can’t. Then, do some bending. It will help others give a little on their end too.
6. Explain how it’s not about what’s best for you…
When asking for what you want at work, try to use the word “I” as little as possible. Talk about “we” and stay focused on the company. You’re looking out for everyone here, not just yourself. Show your boss, or whoever it is you need to talk with about your request, that you aren’t being selfish here – you’d really like to do what’s best for the entire organization.
Tell Us What You Think
How do you get what you want at work without looking like a jerk? We want to hear from you! Leave a comment or join the discussion on Twitter.