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Strategies to Ask Your Boss for What You Want

You know what you want and you’re ready to take action. But your boss has no idea. So how do you ask your boss for what you want in a way that gets them on board?

It comes down to preparing and approaching the conversation from a clear, collaborative space. Here’s how:

Before the Conversation:

Know what you’re asking for.

If you’re having trouble articulating to yourself what it is you want, then it’s likely your boss won’t get it either. To get clear, write down what you want, specifically, including:

  • What you want
  • When you want it
  • Why this benefits the company

Now, simplify it into a single sentence.

Plan for potential pushback.

Prepare by writing down the objections your boss may have. Then, take each one and build the case for why what you want is the solution. This will help you have a comprehensive perspective on what you’re asking about, build your belief in what you’re asking for, and gain understanding on where your boss may be coming from.

Give your boss a head’s up.

Let your boss know what you’d like to talk about before the actual conversation. This could be a simple note or phrase. You don’t need to tell them exactly what you’re asking for, but give them an idea of the topic and what to expect so they come ready and set up to discuss.

During the Conversation:

Begin with something all can agree on.

Start at a place of shared agreement by stating something you and your boss agree on. This gets your boss already thinking, yes, she gets it. We’re on the same page. It helps them approach the rest of the conversation from that place.

Focus on the win-win.

When you’re asking for what you want, don’t make it all about you. Make it about the win-win. How is it a win for your boss, for your team, for the client, for the company at large? When you believe in it as a win-win, you’ll communicate it that way so your boss can see the win-win, too.

These strategies will help you be prepared to ask for what you want from a place of understanding, collaboration, and confidence.

But what about when you want to actively disagree? Come back next week to learn how to push back and voice a dissenting opinion.

Written by Lisa Philyaw, M.S. Psychology and Career Confidence Coach. More free resources and trainings on evolving your career with confidence can be found at www.LisaPhilyaw.com. 

Present Future Foundation