times when people have asked me how I progressed up the
corporate ladder, I have simply responded with "I asked
I am not joking.
I was transferred to Houston with my former employer, I
had several men on my team. In fact, most of the people
I had managed up to that point in my career had been
men. One in particular was relentlessly coming into my
office and asking for more responsibility, more work and
more pay. He took it on, proved himself, and I
promoted him twice while increasing his salary during a
two year period.
took note of his behavior and observed and learned from
a matter of three years after working with him,
I applied his approach to my bosses and
successfully moved from Director to Group Director to
Assistant V.P and ultimately up to Vice
because I asked for it and
supported that request with strong performance, sound
rationale and relevant facts.
I read a book called Women Don't
Ask by Linda Babcock and Sara Laschever.
Throughout the book I recognized parts of myself
in the research and in many other professional women's
authors state that one of the main reasons women
make 73 cents relative to men's dollar today is because
women avoid asking or negotiating. There is a great deal
of research outlined in this book to understand the
societal and psychological reasons for why this is the
case, but one of the more shocking findings is
that women simply don't consider asking or negotiating
as a way to change or impact a
other words, women don't see how asking or negotiating
can actually change anything. They are more
inclined vs. men to just accept things as they are, even
if they are discontent.
Despite my assertive nature,
this had certainly been the case for me when it came
down to progressing in my career early on. Even when I
was most dissatisfied, I kept plugging away because I
believed that my hard work would eventually be
recognized and rewarded.
Today, many women still continue
to wait rather than ask for the recognition and rewards
they want both at work and at home.
I didn't realize before reading the book was
the long term
negative impact on your earning and career potential
when you are unable or unwilling to negotiate and ask
for what you want.
by the way, the research shows that some men actually
fall into this category as well.
Through the learning I had with
my subordinate and years of applying it across my life,
both at home and at work, I now realize and understand
that most everything in life is
After all, you don't get what
you don't ask for.
However, this is often harder
done than said.. But here are some tips to guide
you along the way.
1. Claim your
dissatisfaction. In my experience working
with women, women are more likely to talk themselves out
of their "pain". We hear it all the time "oh it's
not so bad, I can hang in there." One thing to
remember is if you convince yourself out of a
problem, then it really won't be fixed....ever. So be
honest with yourself and claim your dissatisfaction so
that you can get to a better place.
2. Don't assume
anything. People don't react, act or
think like you. Everyone is unique and even if you
think someone is like you, chances are they aren't.
As I often tell my daughter, I can't read your
mind, so don't assume that I intuitively understand what
you need. Use your words and ask.
3. Face the Fear.
What if you mustered up the courage to
ask...what is the worst outcome? Remind yourself
that doing nothing will never resolve the situation and
facing up to your fear can only lead you closer to a
4. Know the
Facts. When we ask logically, firmly and
from a non-emotional, fact-based place, it is
easier for the person in front of you to hear and
understand the request. Don't let your emotions get in
the way and keep to the relevant facts. You want
to make sure that the person you are asking (a boss,
spouse, child, employee, colleague, etc) understands
what you are asking and why.
5. Set your target
high. Always leave room for negotiation
and discussion. But also be clear on where you
will compromise and how much. Do not give in too
what about you? Are you ready to ask for what you
want in these key areas?
- Your value and worth
- Your ideal job
- Your work/life balance
the things you love
- Improving and enhancing your
interested in developing yourself as a better leader and
understanding what your next step should be?
Consider one-on-one business
coaching to help you get clear on what's next and how to
position yourself for success. Contact Laura for
and personalized coaching.
Lopez is an award-winning author of
Connected and Committed
Leader. She is also a
consultant, and a Birkman Method certified business
coach who has been featured on the Today Show ,Latina
Voices Smart Talk, Living Smart and Fox News
In addition, her accomplishments have been
highlighted in several business periodicals
including Personal Excellence, The Long Beach
Business Journal, The Houston Chronicle, Latina
Magazine, and Central Valley Business Times. Her
articles on management and leadership are regularly seen
in Leadership Excellence.
Laura can be contacted via her Web site at: