Asking For a Friend | Chapter 53
Advice from Babe to Babe
This week the babes get real on how to coach your employees to success, ask for a raise, and even navigate tricky conversations around mental health.
My boss does this thing, sometimes, where she refuses to give me—or anyone else—a solution. When I come to her, she says, "What do you think we should do?" And she won't give me feedback until I've presented a solution. We work through it together from there, but it has to start with me, which I feel has been great for my own personal development, and I think has made me more confident over the years.
—Krystina Wales, Contributor
One of the most helpful and pivotal moments for me in my career was during one of my college internships, where I was a marketing and accounts assistant at a small, integrated marketing startup. My supervisor called me in for a meeting and essentially asked me, "If you were the only one in the office, how would you find solutions for the problems you have?" She told me I was depending too much on my colleagues for on-the-fly help with stuff that, frankly, I could be figuring out myself. She helped me realize it wasn't my lack of ability, it was a lack of confidence and also resourcefulness.
Google is your friend. There are so many resources out there no matter the task at hand. Your time as a supervisor and her colleagues' time is equally valuable. If she can't find a way to solutions herself, you will find someone to replace her who will.
—Chelsea Dudevoire, BWH Founder + CEO
I always say one of my biggest pieces of advice is to come to your supervisor with options; perhaps you can suggest this to her so it might feel a bit less overwhelming. Something like, "When you come to me to ask for my help, please come with two potential paths we could take."
—Olivia Wilson, BABE #51 + Contributor
I read "Fierce Conversations" by Susan Scott for a presentation I gave at work and I would highly recommend it to anyone who interacts with people (aka, everyone). In the book, Scott speaks about the decision tree as a way to outline how decisions can be made in an organization (e.g. what a staff member can handle on their own and what should be brought to a supervisor or manager). This might be a useful tool in helping your employee see where she's expected to take the reins and when to call in support.
—Diana Morris, BABE #182
I don’t have a huuugggeee amount of expertise here, but I’d definitely highlight the value you’ve added to the business—which is a lot. This isn’t a means to an end for you (aka a way to get through college, or whatever). It’s your passion and your career, and it shows to your customers.
—Sandy Russo, Contributor
Have a number in mind and ask for a sit-down. Highlight the things you’ve contributed and say that is why you’re asking for a raise, and that because of these things you feel you’re worth “XX” amount. In your head, have your bottom number, but start at the top. Remember to be calm and direct. I always remind myself that business is business, so let’s talk some fucking business.
—Kayla Beckmann Barnhart, BABE #85 + Contributor
Recently, I had an employee who presented a list of ways she both directly and indirectly brought more business to my business. That was incredibly valuable for me to see on paper. Some of the direct ways I was already very aware of, but some of the indirect ways—relationships she had built, how she had put in hours outside of nine-to-five, connections she had made that brought in more clients, etc.—were key for me to see as an employer and completely understand what an asset she was to the company, which in turn justified a raise.
—MaryAnne Rodriguez, BABE #79
When I was working at my agency job, I negotiated every single time I was offered money (first time they offered me the job and during my reviews). I also coached a lot of people through asking for more, too. Basically, go over all the ways you're an asset. Be crystal clear on them so you can speak to them, but also have it on paper so you can leave it with them. Also, be crystal clear on what you desire your raise to be! And be confident in knowing that you're worth that much, because you are. My personal policy is that if they don't say no and counter offer, then you didn't ask for enough.
—Chelsea Quint, BABE #38
What has worked for me has been printing out a physical report of things (process improvements, programs, even something little like culture or team-member satisfaction improvement) that wouldn’t exist without you or that you have personally invested in to improve over the last year (or three, in your case). From my experience, when it comes to hospitality I know that sometimes customers come to your establishment specifically to be served by you. If there are any recurring customers for which you know this is the case, I would include that in that report (in a delicate way).
—Alissa McShane, Contributor
I'm a small business owner and freelancer, and I've worked for a mental health nonprofit in the past. I can only speak for myself, but I understand why the magazine did what they did and don't think they overreacted.
It might seem like an extreme reaction, but there could be other factors at play (for example, is this a blanket policy they have?). As someone who has worked in the mental health field and struggles with mental health issues, I get this and have sympathy for her. But as someone who also works with contractors, I'm on the line with my clients if they miss a deadline and push a project back. It does sound callous to say it's a business decision, but it'd take a lot for me to go back to a contractor if they missed a deadline.
In conclusion: It sucks, and I feel awful for her, but she might just have to take this as a learning experience (if they don't change their minds after her last email) and make a game plan for in case she has a similar situation in the future.
—Claire Biggs, BABE #30
Move on, learn from the situation, and do better next time. The decision likely was not taken lightly and will not be reversed, so the only thing to do is look towards the future and take steps now to minimize the risk of her emotional health negatively affecting her employment again.
—Heather Croteau, BWH Editor-In-Chief
Until Next Week,
—THE BWH ADVICE GURUS
Asking for a Friend is Babes Who Hustle's weekly advice column that asks and answers the work-related questions on all of our minds. Looking for advice and guidance? Hit us with all of your questions below and stay tuned for next Wednesday's edition!