There is no doubt that young women are kicking ass in today’s business world. Their abilities to multitask, trust their instincts, and build strong relationships with colleagues make women desirable employees. But despite these advantages, men’s paychecks are still fatter.
So whats the problem? The very skills that enable women to advance in the workplace tend to derail them when it’s time to talk cash. To compete financially, savvy chicks need to borrow from guys’ playbooks. Here, the best strategies men follow.
THEY ASK FOR IT
Think back to your last few performance reviews. Did you point-blank request more money? Statistics indicate that you probably didn’t. In a 2002 survey of working women, only 16 percent said they always negotiated salary; 41 percent said they never – or only occasionally – brought it up.
Women are shortchanging themselves. Oftentimes, they don’t speak up because they think the offer is set in stone or they don’t believe they deserve more. Know this: Boys don’t play that way, and they have the bank balances to prove it.
Get-more-money tip: Consider every offer an opportunity to negotiate. Guys believe that there’s always wiggle room, and they’re right. Managers commonly lowball their first offer because they expect you to counter.
Nervous about negotiating? You’ll be more comfortable if you’ve done your homework. Ask someone in a similar position at another company what kind of range to expect or consult an online resource, such as monster.com. Go in with that number and once your boss names a figure, say “I’d be happier with X amount. Can you make that happen?” If she can’t, ask to be compensated with extra vacation days, a company cell, or another pay review in six months.
THEY TRACK THEIR WINS
Contrary to what you might think, your raise isn’t decided at your review – you earn it all year long. Knowing that, men keep a metal log of their successes and make sure their bosses hear about them as they happen. Men are results-driven, so cataloging their wins and making them public comes naturally. The big mistake women make is viewing this behavior as shameless self-promotion.
Get-more-money tip: Learn to sing your own praises subtly. Tell your boss something like “I think my team did a great job with that project.” She’ll then attach your name to the successful task. It also pays to show your boss positive feedback you get from customers or clients. That way you’re not tooting your own horn. Someone else is actually doing it for you.
THEY AREN’T DISTRACTED BY PRAISE
Women often go into performance reviews hoping for approval – over and above money – because they get immense satisfaction from positive feedback. The problem is that they’re so grateful when they get it, they lose sight of the bottom line.
Bosses suspect thing and commonly tell female employees things like “I can only give you the standard raise this year. But we’re really happy with your work.” The woman immediately feels valued, and it’s only much later – once the thrill has worn off – that she thinks ‘Hang on, if I’m doing such a good job, where’s the cash?’ Dudes’ egos, however, aren’t stroked by verbal accolades alone. Men look for their value to be reflected in their paycheck.
When your boss says “Nice work,” say something like “I’m glad you’re pleased, but I’d be happier if that approval were being reflected in my paycheck.” Then ask for what you want. Yes, it takes balls to get those words out, but this kind of dialogue asserts your agenda without putting your manager on the defensive, which is the best way to negotiate.
THEY DON’T MAKE IT PERSONAL
Women’s team-player mentality becomes a real problem during negotiations. Oftentimes, they worry that pushing for more with hurt their relationship with their manager. Result: When their boss says “My hands are tied,” female employees drop the subject – or worse, make their appeal for cash personal by bringing up their upcoming wedding or new condo payments. Men don’t worry that asserting their demands will impact their relationship with their boss. And they would never try to use nonwork reasons to guilt higher-ups into giving them a bigger raise.
Get-more-money tip: Have a comeback at the ready in case your boss lowballs you-something like “Can you come any closer to my number?” Although, get up your nerve by rehearsing with a friend first.
And don’t be fooled into thinking that your boss is looking out for your best interests. It sounds harsh, but when it comes to pay reviews, you’re just a line item on her budget. It’s your manager’s job to get you as cheaply as she can. However, she does realize that it’s your job to try for more, so don’t worry about causing discord. But if you’ve pushed beyond her first rebuttal and you’re getting nowhere, you may need to face the fact that your manager’s hands really are tied.
THEY EXPECT MOMENTS OF DISCOMFORT
So you’ve finally mustered the courage to come out and ask for more money, and your request is met with stony silence. Flustered, you nervously chitchat- and compromise any ground you’ve gained. The hard truth: A guy will stick to his guns after he’s made his case and wait for his boss to do the talking- and that’s what you need to do too. Your boss is sizing you up and seeing if you’ll fold under pressure.
Get-more-money tip: Learn to recognize the pregnant pause as a power play. When your boss falls silent, stay calm by counting in your head while waiting for her to speak. She’s most likely either considering what you’ve said or counting on you to backpedal, so hold your ground.
Remember: Speechlessness on your end effectively communicates your disapproval of their offer. Most bosses aim to give you just enough to keep you in the role, and your silence will raise a red flag that they haven’t acheived that. And that’s how you make your agenda their priority.
*FIVE THINGS TO DO DURING AN AWKWARD SILENCE*
1) Look at it differently. If you sit there thinking “He’s stopped talking because he’s pissed,” you’ll get spooked. But if you tell yourself “He’s just considering the options,” you’ll tolerate the silence far better.
2) Concentrate on your posture. Keep your stomach tight, shoulders back, and hands in your lap. This pose communicates confidence.
3) Mind your nervous twitches. Be conscious of the anxious ticks your body resorts to when you’re wired – toe tapping, nail biting, toying with your sleeve. Your boss will be looking for signs that you’re about to crack.
4) Maintain an expectant attitude. Clarify that the ball’s in his or her court by keeping your expression soft, gaze neutral, and eyebrows slightly raised.
5) Keep your courage up. Challenging your boss may seem risky, but it’s good for your career. Many managers see it as an indicator of leadership.