Negotiating a pay rise?
An article in today’s Financial Times (3/12/2012, P12) addresses the scenario where you may discover that a peer of yours earns more than you do!
The ‘knee jerk’ reaction, they say is to ‘kick the door down’ and go in with ‘all guns blazing.’ Of course, not everyone would necessarily behave so overtly aggressive. Some less, say confident, might decide to use the so called ‘passive aggressive’ approach, to whine, whinge and complain to everyone, except the boss!
Both tactics might be seen as the emotional arousal in your brain ‘kicking off’ the flight or fight response. This is the simple physiological response that our body gives to a sense of threat (in the example given by the FT your unfair treatment) that keeps you safe and brings about the status quo.
In this sense the emotional brain will do whatever it takes to keep us safe and may work instinctively in ways that are not wholly rational when looked in the cold light of, well maybe the warm glow, of a calm moment. This ability of the rational brain to be overridden by seemingly irrational behaviour has often led commentators to remark that ‘the emotional brain makes us stupid’.
This may not be wholly true as ‘Emotion’ – ‘E Motion’ – might also be through of us ‘Energy in Motion’. The physiological energy response is quick, often efficient and sometimes beyond our known abilities. The stories of petite mothers lifting heavy cars from their crushed children, yet not even being able to push the same car in a calm moment are legendary. So, having that ability to respond instinctively should not be termed stupid just because it sometimes back fires.
Nonetheless, the Financial Times (FT) counsels you to ‘hold your fire’ and to “use your emotion rather than letting it use you”. That seems sage advice and is related to the much talked about and trained concept, coined by Daniel Goleman, of emotional intelligence or EI.
EI is the ability of an individual to identify, assess and work effectively with their emotions. That seems sage advice.
And it is in learning sage wisdom like this that is in growing to learn how to work with our emotions that we begin to take mastery of our responses and consequently our greatest potential. Some think that it must take years to learn such skills, but that is not so. A skilled coach will show you the how to and all that is then needed is application and effort.
So how should you get a pay rise? Like in all good negotiations, including those with your emotional brain, keep calm, gather the facts and makes sense of them; there can often be a great deal of misinformation around.
Make sense of what you are being told, understand your position and prepare to make your case in a way that your boss can see the logic of your case. Be calm in receiving their feedback to. Open questions such as “what do I need to do to earn that rate?” and if you are pushed back, seek small wins, the FT suggests you ask for more holiday. Use of the executive bathroom is normally a good fillip!
Regardless, keep your sense of proportion and inner confidence, raise the bar to raise your salary, but don’t ever be afraid to lift the car if you really need to.