Hi! And how are you all? It was a great month in January with a mixture of light work and a holiday and of course watching the Australian Open Tennis Championships. I was so happy for Djokovic as my whole family supports him, although I did feel a little sorry for Andy Murray as I felt he did play very, very well in the first two sets. As you can notice too, the newsletter has undergone a slight face-lift. Tell me what you think?
The other day whilst conducting training, I had a chat with one of my participants during break time. The main point of our discussion was the fact that she felt she deserved a salary increase but was not getting it. I questioned her as to whether she had asked her boss about it. She merely replied that she felt she shouldn’t ask and that the boss ‘should know’ about the situation. My advice to her was the following:
a. The boss ‘should know’ is a very weak kind of assumption. Firstly, he may genuinely be so busy in his work that he may not be aware or may have overlooked the salary situation. Secondly, he may know about it, but since she has not asked, he may have made the assumption that the situation was not that critical.
b. I advised her to ask the boss for a salary increase so that he will be aware and know that it means a lot to her. She may not get it, but at least she will know that the boss is aware of the situation. However when asking she should be objective and can give clear justifications. She should never, ever be emotional!
c. If she genuinely feels that she deserves it, but does not get it even after asking, then it is time to weigh up her options for the future. She should start looking for opportunities outside that organization where her skills and talents would be much more appreciated from a tangible perspective.
The main point I am trying to make here is that if you don’t ask, the answer will always be no! I am aware that in an Asian culture, it can sometimes be misconstrued that by asking, you are being ‘rude’ or ‘imposing’. I would rather this than suffering in silence. In the example above, it would be silly to think that the boss would sit around and think “If Agnes doesn’t mention or hint at a salary raise for another two months… I may just give it to her.” This I can assure you, rarely happens.
So a great principle to have in life is in one simple word, ‘ASK’. By asking, it does not mean that you will get it, but you will definitely have increased your chances of getting it. Let’s take another example. Let’s say you are in an airport waiting for boarding time. You are a little bored as you have no reading material. As you turn to your right, you notice a gentleman playing games on an Ipad and with the latest ‘Time’ magazine at his side. Now if you are shy and don’t ask to borrow the magazine, there will be a 100% chance that you will not get to read the magazine. It will also be incredible if he ‘reads your mind’ and turns to you and says, “Would you like to borrow my magazine?” However if you ask, then you will certainly have increased your chances of reading the magazine a few fold. And if he says ‘No’, then your situation does not become any worse: it just remains the same.
However, I do notice from my experience, that we tend not to be assertive enough to ask for things that we want, like asking for a drink from the flight stewardess, or asking for advice from a superior, or asking for a discount from a retail outlet, for example. I know that at times I suffer from this syndrome too. I must admit however, that I have improved considerably in this aspect very much to my benefit.
So from today onwards, do try to practice this habit of asking. Ask for a promotion, ask for a discount, ask for a better rate!! I assure you, you will get more things that way rather than just keeping silent and hoping.
Thank you for taking the time to read this newsletter. Here’s wishing all of you a wonderful month of February and hope that all of you will have a great Chinese New Year holiday.