Tip – It Starts From Before Your Start!

A recent conversation made me realise that having worked in HR for almost 20 years, and in reward & remuneration especially, I have a tendency to make assumptions and take for granted, that the things I learnt and utilised in my career are commonly known and done.

Friends and colleagues constantly point out to me (I can be slow at times) when I look at them in amazement at what to me seems common sense, that to them is a blinding flash of insight, and on occasions the capacity to make them go pale and feel faint at the thought of doing what I suggest.

So I’ve decided to write about how to ‘Manage Your Manager’, especially in helping him or her help you get the pay rise you want and deserve.

The key message for this blog post is, this whole process starts before you ever actually start. What I mean by that, is you have to have as much clarity as you can about everything concerning your professional life, including your earning capacity before you go for the interview and wow them about how awesome you are, or sit down with your manager and start talking about pay rises.

Now I’m not saying you have to have a 100-point plan, complete with dates, timelines, action items etc – you can if you want, however we all know what happens when we’re too structured – we get tunnel vision and are unable to see the wood for the trees.

No, what I mean is this.

Know what your ultimate outcomes are for you career in these three main areas and create a working strategy, which changes and grows as you do. The 3 areas are:

  • Career development (how you will grow, learn and change)


  • Career progression (the ladder of your choice you will scale)



  • YOUR EARNING CAPACITY & POTENTIAL (the lovely dollars and other goodies that will come your way)


Develop the ability to always have strong clarity on why you’re in the career you’ve chosen to be in, how you want to develop and progress and always ensure you’re keeping abreast of how remuneration is tracking in your field, your industry and the economy as a whole. That way, you’ll never make the mistake of trying to ask for a pay rise that may have your manager coughing and spluttering with laughter or tears, because the context of the request is completely nonsensical! (It has been known to happen!)

Once you know the above three, make sure you have a solid handle on why you – as the person you are, warts and all – are suited to being outstanding in this career and then you’re ready to go out into the world. This is where the rubber truly hits the road and a strategy I used throughout my career, which reaped me far more job offers at the remuneration level I wanted, is the strategy I’m going to share with you now. This has the power to cease those endless, pesky nerves that tend to turn up when we go for interviews or sit down with our manager for the first time. The strategy is to:

Interview the people on the other side of the table as much as they interview you. Make sure they are a fit for you, because this is where you’re going to be for the next few months or years.

Far too many people (women and men) place all the power of selection in the hands of the interviewer/manager/panel, and in doing so, especially women, we forget our own value and the significant difference we can make in this role.

When you demonstrate that not only are you able to articulate the massive value you intend to add, the difference you will make and of course, make your manager’s life a hell of a lot easier; you also ask questions about how they will support you, ensure you have everything you need to be a big success, something happens.

It’s an unconscious process, and one worth utilising in every aspect of your life.

Not only do you begin to own your worth and value, the people in front of you, on the other side of the table, do too.

And, another excellent outcome of this strategy – you might actually uncover something which makes you think twice about taking the role.

Questions about the things that are important to you, phrased elegantly and with strong context (don’t blather on only about money and benefits – you’d be surprised how many people do) are impressive and convey a sense of discernment, which from my experience of almost 20 years interviewing, managing and coaching people let your potential future or current manager know who you are and how the two of you will interact.

If they are a match to you, this can be a match made in heaven. I have had may be two managers I didn’t enjoy my time with. All the others propelled me into success after success more than I could ever have dreamed. And they were smart. They knew when I did well, they did well.

Ask the questions you want answers to. Be clear, concise, certain and confident without being pushy, arrogant or superior. Make sure this opportunity with all it entails is the right one for you.

And if you’re already in a role and have never done this before and now want to begin creating a relationship with your manager so you can ask for the money you want to earn – do the above actions, ask them for a meeting and let them know why you’re meeting with them. Let them know why it’s of benefit to them and be the one who follows up and takes ownership of this process.

This is about you beginning to manage your career, not your manger or the organisation you work for.

Next week, part 2 – Setting expectations for you & your manager!

Till next time!

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