As a manager, watching an employee ask for a raise can often create cringes, forehead slaps, and even worse, anger and annoyance. While conversations about compensation and career paths are important parts of cultivating teams and organizations, not enough employees prepare for the talk.  Worse, they often commit basic errors that effectively kill the conversation, and make mistakes that can easily be avoided.  Gathering the wisdom of the BizzyChicks community, here is a list of seven crucial mistakes to avoid.

  1. Don’t ask for a raise based on what you “feel” or what you “deserve.” Especially don’t present a sob story as a motivating factor for asking for more money. Leave feelings out of it.
  2. Don’t ask for a raise too frequently, and probably not after just one year on the job.
  3. Don’t waste anyone’s time. Be honest with your manager and yourself. Besides looking at where you have added value, also look at where you may have fallen short. Have you 100% earned it?
  4. Don’t be aggressive. Aim for assertive. The more you have proof of your value, the less you have to pound the table.
  5. Don’t whine and don’t complain. Avoid comparing your workload to others in the team. Don’t complain that you haven’t had a raise in years, etc. Coming from this negative angle will predispose your manager to feel negatively about you. Focus on positives.
  6. Don’t assume that doing what was expected should get you more than a cost-of-living adjustment. Raises are given to people who outperform expectations.
  7. Don’t give ultimatums, and don’t threaten. Hostage taking or bribing just doesn’t work. At worst, you have to be prepared to follow through on the threats. At best, your manager will give in but will not view you as a negotiator or team player going forward.

Do have the conversation though, when the time is right and your position is justified.  A passive approach to your career isn’t the best way to move forward.

To learn what to do to prepare for a compensation discussion with your boss, see my previous article “Want A Raise or Promotion? Follow These 3 Steps.”