How to ask for a raise or a promotion actually has an answer so simple it’s often overlooked — and, understandably, people tend to overcomplicate it. There aren’t magic words, but 3 simple actions work almost every time, regardless of the type of job you’re working at now or the next step in your career you’d like to take:
1. Ask your manager for help.
2. Do what they say.
3. Follow up.
Ask your manager for help
Managers are looking for employees that demonstrate self-leadership, accountability, and take initiative. When an employee takes the initiative to ask their manager for help getting to the next level, managers want to help. A good manager is always on the lookout for employees that are committed to improving, so take advantage of that.
Follow your manager’s advice
The second step can be harder. Then it’s on you to follow through and deliver on their suggestions. What I wish every employee understood is that to succeed professionally, your manager’s perception is critical, whether you agree with it or not. If you disagree with the feedback, let your boss know you are working to internalize their feedback and could they provide specific examples to illustrate.
Don’t forget to follow-up
Then follow up. Every few weeks or so, check in with your manager and ask them for more feedback about the steps you have been taking. Ask specifically what is going well and what is not. Inviting a manager to give negative feedback let’s the manager feel comfortable enough to get the criticism off their chest. Even though it may be hard to hear, you need the information so you can continue to improve your perception in their eyes. It’s this last step that imprints upon a manager that you are promotion material even more so than actually delivering on the feedback. When an employee is brave enough to ask for negative feedback, the manager feels this is an employee they can trust, that listens to them, and has great potential.
Last, keep in mind you should always schedule these discussions at a time that is convenient for your manager. Avoid off-the-cuff and unplanned conversations. You won’t appear as professional to your manager if you spring this type of conversation on them.