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How To Plan For Difficult Conversations And Create A Win-Win Outcome

How To Plan For Difficult Conversations And Create A Win-Win Outcome

What would you do if you’d been promoted and a few years later realised you hadn’t been given the pay rise that should have been assigned to your role? You might feel outraged or upset, but how proactive would you be about talking to your boss about it?

Elevate Talent recently shared a blog exploring the key benefits of facing up to difficult conversations; we know there’s resistance, even when the stakes are high!

In this blog, we’re going to explore how you can prepare for difficult conversations (let’s reframe those to “winning conversations”) about promotion and pay rises so that you can achieve your career aspirations and create a win-win outcome.

Addressing the elephant in the room

The earlier scenario I shared about not receiving the pay rise in line with a promotion was a real life experience for one of my coaching clients. She decided not to challenge it because she didn’t think her boss would be able to retrospectively pay her. Over time she was offered a second promotion that came with a £10,000 pay rise. Although she was over the moon, the £10,000 pay rise meant she was still in the lower band of the salary bracket. We decided she should ask for an additional £5,000 and suggest to her boss that this would compensate for the earlier oversight.

Her boss quickly agreed.

Whether we like it or not, remuneration is a powerful recognition of your abilities, and your job title helps represent your level of responsibility and expertise to the outside world. 

Give yourself permission to ask for what you want

Elevate Talent’s Communication Coach Nicky Perfect explains the importance of giving yourself “permission” to ask for what you want (for greater understanding, read our earlier blog A 4-Step Blueprint To Help You Negotiate With Confidence).

One of the reasons asking for a promotion or a pay rise might feel difficult is because people often think it’s self-serving, which likely ramps up fear, anxiety or stress. However, if you can reframe it to a winning conversation where there is benefit to all, you’re more likely to enter into it. 

Why might a conversation about promotion be a win-win?

When you think about the benefits of promotion, you’ll realise that:

  • When you feel respected and well-remunerated, you’re inspired to always give your best, which could translate into new business or increased opportunity. Without the recognition you deserve, you’re less likely to collaborate and contribute to your company at your optimum and over time this can lead to resentment and dissatisfaction.
  • To external clients, a more senior job title represents expertise; they’re more likely to give weight and credibility to what you say.
  • Nobody has all the answers. When you brave a conversation around promotion or a pay rise, you invite your manager to enter into a process that they can rinse and repeat with future employees.

Why giving yourself permission is so important

If you can’t reconcile within your own mind why you deserve a pay rise or promotion, it’s very hard to present a compelling case to your manager. You need to fully back yourself.

It’s worthwhile revisiting your career goals and acknowledging that getting what you want may have to involve “winning conversations”, and the more you practise having them, the more skillful you’ll become.

The four P’s that will help you progress your career

Once you have given yourself “permission” to go for promotion or a pay rise, it’s useful to follow the other three P’s that Nicky (our communication coach) recommends in her four step formula. These include planning, perspective and practice.

You can incorporate these three P’s by asking your manager the following questions:

  • Where am I in the band for my job title (top, middle, bottom)?
  • How am I performing on my title compared to my pay band?
  • What can my expectations be of getting a pay rise?
  • What criteria do I need to meet to achieve a pay rise?

The benefits of planning and perspective

By asking these questions, you’re replacing any emotion with logic. If you make the conversation personal, you’re more likely to feel inhibited or block the conversation because you fear the outcome. When you think of it as a logical “winning conversation” with positives for all the participants, you’re simply discussing the criteria required to obtain a pay rise for a particular role, which will help you to excel at what you do.

Author and Psychiatrist Dr Dan Siegel explains in his book Mindsight: The New Science Of Personal Transformation that communication within your “window of tolerance” helps you to function the most effectively because you are typically able to receive, process, integrate information and respond accordingly. Your “window of tolerance” refers to how stimulated you feel by a conversation; outside of your tolerance window you tend to be over or under stimulated, neither of which are likely to result in a positive outcome.

How incentivised do you feel now to face up to those conversations you’d once have shied away from? Can you think of a situation you’re currently facing that would benefit from the four P’s (planning, perspective, permission and practice)? 

What might you do differently? Drop us a line at Elevate Talent and let us know!

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