In honor of Equal Pay Day this month, I had the opportunity to facilitate a Lean In Facebook Q&A that reached 139,900 people on one of the more challenging sticky floors for women (and men in some cases). That sticky floor is called Asking For What You Want.
While "making the ask" may seem simple on the surface, I was amazed at the number of questions that arose on this issue. Concerns ranged from figuring out the key steps you need to know about asking in relation to your career, strategy for effective negotiations, and how to address the internal voice in your head that may tell you to retreat from asking. Yet despite the reservations that some may feel toward asking, we are routinely faced with the need to ask for what we want in job interviews or when seeking a raise, promotion, bonus, vacation, flextime, and other benefits or opportunities.
While the act of asking may make you feel vulnerable, having the courage to ask actually demonstrates strength. In most cases, having the confidence to ask for something you deserve helps you gain respect from others. However, it's important to be mindful about what you ask for and how you ask. So how exactly should you approach asking for what you want, in order to increase your chances of getting it? Whatever you want--whether more status, more money, or more time off--here are five proven strategies to try:
- Ditch the entitlement. Don't assume that because you believe you should receive something, it should therefore come to you without question. In most cases involving the next step up in pay, position, or preferences, people expect you to ask for what you want. Not only does asking show self-confidence, but it also shows respect for the person you're asking by acknowledging that his or her help is requested, not just expected.
If you'd like a more customized approach to improving your asking ability and negotiating skills, another strategy to consider is working with a SHAMBAUGH executive coach. Developing a coaching relationship allows us to take your unique needs into account and design a tailored program for you to maximize your professional and personal impact. Whatever approach you take, my ultimate advice is, Just Do It! One thing is for certain: you may not get what you want all the time or even most of the time--but if you don't ask, you may never get what you want.
Learn more about my 2015 speaking initiative that calls out the importance of having all voices on deck, allowing leadership to harness the broader spectrum of human talent and intelligence while combining the strength of both genders.
To learn more about how SHAMBAUGH can help you build inclusive/integrated leadership within your organization, or about SHAMBAUGH's targeted women's leadership development programs, executive coaching, and other core services, visit www.shambaughleadership.com.
Rebecca Shambaugh is author of the best-selling books "It's Not a Glass Ceiling, It's a Sticky Floor", "Make Room for Her: Why Companies Need an Integrated Leadership Model to Achieve Extraordinary Results" and
Don't miss a limited promotional offer of Rebecca's timely book, "Leadership Secrets of Hillary Clinton," available for $1.99 at selected retailers.