Shoya Zichy on Using Your Strengths to Prepare for Salary Negotiations

Photo of Shoya Zichy, author of Personality PowerThe following is a guest post from Shoya Zichyauthor of Personality Power: Discover Your Unique Profile–and Unlock Your Potential for Breakthrough Success about how knowing your personality type can help you negotiate for a raise.

Case Study #1:  You accepted a lower starting salary to get your foot in the door.  But your compensation has never caught up, despite superior performance.

Case Study #2:  Another annual review has passed, and you still aren’t being paid as much as your peers despite your solid contributions.

Think it’s your boss’s fault?  More likely, it’s yours.  Time to take a new approach that mines your personality’s strengths!  Test your relationship to money with the following quiz.

Choose one option from each set of the following statements.

If no one’s judging, at least 51 percent of the time, do you tend to be more:

A: tactful and diplomatic
B: direct and frank?

: apt to avoid conflict where possible
B: apt to meet conflict head on?

A: empathetic
B: analytical?

: accepting at first
B: skeptical at first?

A: apt to take things personally
B: objective about criticism?

If you’ve chosen more answers marked A, research shows you will probably be underpaid by at least 25% of your true value. This is not because you lack skills or talent, but because you are not asking for your due.

You need to learn from those who chose more items from the right column. These individuals typically are paid more than the previous group; not because they produce superior work, but because they know their worth and demand to be properly compensated.

So if you are in the group on the left (which makes up 50% of the population, and 65% of women), what can you do about it?

  1. Research Your Position. Search salary websites, and talk to people who are in similar careers and professions.  Use your diplomacy when describing comparable positions.
  2. Determine Your Priorities. Here is where to make it personal.  Salary, bonus, vacation, health benefits, technologically advanced equipment, a supportive boss, freedom, and meaningful work are all priorities that are individually sensitive. Perhaps you cannot push on the salary, but you can increase the overall package.
  3. Get Organized. Make a list of your skills and achievements. Prepare to present these as well as highlight your past contributions and accomplishments. This will help avoid the conflict you hate.
  4. Rehearse, Rehearse, Rehearse. You know the old saying, “Practice makes perfect.” Role play with a strong negotiator–use your empathy to understand what it feels like to operate this way.  The confidence gained through rehearsal will decrease your anxiety and increase focus. As a result, you will be less likely to fold early on in the salary negotiation process.
  5. If your boss throws you a non-rehearsed curve.  DON’T be accepting at first, even if everything inside you screams to get it over with!   Ask for time to consider.  Then consult with someone who would have chosen the right column on how to proceed.

Your approach to money is one of many aspects of your personality covered in my Color Q Model and new book, Personality Power:  Discover Your Unique Profile and Unlock Your Potential for Breakthrough Success.

Jacket image, Personality Power by Shoya ZichyWe’d love to hear how these tips work for you—share your story in the comments!

Shoya Zichy is the creator of the award-winning Color Q personality profile system. Formerly president of the Myers-Briggs Association of New York, her roster of clients includes Merrill Lynch, Bank of America, UBS, and the U.S. Treasury. She is also the author of the book Career Match.


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