The Advisor’s Corner – How do I ask for a raise or promotion?

How do I ask for a raise or promotion?Question:

How do I ask for a raise or promotion?

StrategyDriven Response: (by Roxi Hewertson, StrategyDriven Principal Contributor)

Think about it this way – you lose nothing by advocating for the pay and position you deserve. If the answer you receive is ‘no,’ then you’ll be right where you are now except you will know a lot more about whether or not you should stay.

Reframe your thinking. While you certainly have everything to do with the way the job is being done, there is more. When you take the emotion out of it, you will be talking to your boss about the business value of the job you are doing. This can help the conversation to be data driven vs. personal.

5 TIPS to Help You Self-advocate

1. Know yourself. Make sure you are 100% sure the job you are doing IS actually a great job. Ask for feedback about what you are doing well and what you can do better from your boss, peers, customers, and if you have them, direct reports. Write down what they say and keep a log. Another part of knowing yourself is knowing what you are and are not willing to do for that promotion. Are the hours longer, is there travel, do you have to manage others? All of these factors will impact your life. So consider what matters most to you.

2. Know your stuff. Make sure your work is truly adding value to your company/organization and be prepared to prove it. Speak to your results – behavioral and business. Your behaviors are critical to your success. Do you ‘play well with others?’ What about your business results? Answering the questions about your behavior and business results will help you think clearly about what data you need to collect.

3. Know your people. Make sure you know how your boss needs to hear and see things. Does he/she like just the facts, conceptual framework, objectivity, ideas? If you don’t know, you’re missing the train. HOW you ask is as important as WHAT you ask. This includes timing. Don’t have this conversation in the midst of a crisis, on Friday afternoon, or just before you or your boss go on vacation. Have it when you are prepared, he/she has a heads up (bosses don’t like surprises) that you’d like to discuss changes/new expectations/results in your role.

4. Know your system. Make sure you know how and when your organization allows for raises. Is there a new job description needed? Is there a pay scale system that can back you up? Are raises only given once a year or are there bonuses, etcetera? Talk to your HR people to learn what is possible in your system.

5. Know your options. Make sure you are aware of your and your job’s value in the market place. Search, and job sites like, for a similar job to yours or the job you want to be doing. Identify the education/experience/competencies needed to be qualified, and then do some ‘mining’ of the data that’s out there on the internet. You now have even more objective data to include if it supports your request.

Finally, if you feeling undervalued, ask yourself why you feel this way. Is it your relationship with your boss or is it the job or is it the pay or some combination? Sometimes we confuse these. Getting objective will help. When you know the answers and have collected your data, you are ready to change what needs to change – your pay, your title, your boss, your job, your company, or… yourself.

About the Author

Leadership authority Roxana (Roxi) Hewertson is a no-nonsense business veteran revered for her nuts-and-bolts, tell-it-like-it-is approach and practical, out-of-the-box insights that help both emerging and expert managers, executives and owners boost quantifiable job performance in various mission critical facets of business. Through, Roxi — “the Dear Abby of Leadership” — imparts invaluable free advice to managers and leaders at all levels, from the bullpen to the boardroom, to help them solve problems, become more effective and realize a higher measure of business and career success.

The StrategyDriven website was created to provide members of our community with insights to the actions that help create the shared vision, focus, and commitment needed to improve organizational alignment and accountability for the achievement of superior results. We look forward to answering your strategic planning and tactical business execution questions. Please email your questions to [email protected].

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