Sidestep Deflection When Asking For A Raise With This Simple Statement

Sidestep Deflection When Asking For A Raise With This Simple Statement
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When you ask for a raise, it’s not uncommon to have your request deflected with phrases like “it’s not a good time” or “we don’t have the budget”. You might be able to get around that deflection, however, with a simple, observational statement.

Picture: decoded conference

There are a lot of things to consider before you sit down to talk to your manager about a raise. Of course, even if you go in perfectly prepared, there’s a good chance that your request will get cut off before you can even get to the nitty-gritty. Bourree Lam at The Atlantic asked former FBI hostage negotiator Chris Voss about handling a deflecting manager, and Voss suggests greasing the wheels with a simple statement:

…say the statement: “It seems like there’s nothing you can do.” People do not like to feel powerless, what it does is it makes the other side feel like they might be somewhat powerless. They’re going to want to search for answers. And certainly for someone higher than you in the hierarchy, the last thing they want to look to you, a subordinate, is to look powerless. It threatens their identity and authority. They’re not going to be comfortable saying yes to that.

Of course, this isn’t some magic spell that will guarantee you a raise, but it might help you open up the discussion a little more. If they bite, you might be able to ask more questions and see what you need to do in order to achieve your desired pay. The more information you can glean from your conversation, the better. Of course, you may also learn that there really is a reason why a raise isn’t possible at the moment, but at least you’ll know why instead of going on thinking your manager doesn’t value you.

Ask a Hostage Negotiator: What’s the Best Way to Get a Raise? [The Atlantic]


  • How about a simple: “I know it’s busy. I also know I’ve been getting great results. Is it ok to set up a quick chat with you next week to discuss?” Then you layout the successes you’ve had – along with a firm figure of what you want (note that you will be negotiated down, so add a buffer).

  • Are you kidding me? The managers I’ve known who want to avoid a payrise would love to be able to say, “There’s nothing I can do.”

    ‘There’s nothing I can do’ is the go-to excuse. It’s likely to be the next thing you hear.

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