Put Your Hand Up, Not Out

March 21, 2012

Thanks to everyone who had comments on my March 6 post Free Advice From a Mentor, I have had some stimulating conversations.

One person who knows me well was surprised that I didn’t include one of my other oft-repeated golden rules: “Put your hand up, not out.”

I often advise others that they should seek more responsibility, not more pay.

Putting your hand out– asking for more pay because you want it, because you need it, because you’re worth it and doggone it, people like you– doesn’t create a value exchange for your boss or your company.

At least not a sustainable one. You might whine your way to one raise, but that’s rarely a repeatable strategy.

Putting your hand up– to volunteer for more responsibility, to help a colleague swamped with a huge project, to ask your boss if you can take a few things off of her plate– makes you immediately more valuable.

And it makes you the kind of person people want to help be successful.

Have faith that your generosity and increased value will be rewarded (or “monetized” in today’s e-parlance) in due course.

You may have to be a little patient about that. Don’t expect an immediate quid pro quo.

If you are convinced that your efforts will go unrewarded, you are in the wrong job, working for the wrong boss or at the wrong company. Maybe all three.

If that’s the case, a raise isn’t going to make it any better. Trust me.

Otherwise, take a chance.

Put your hand up.


  1. And sloooowly….that ‘hand up’
    re•action eventually becomes an automatic ‘hand in’ (think of athletic team visual before the start of a game) action. Committed for ‘Team Company’ win and earning cred as a standout player in your role for all.

    • I like it! Well said.

  2. I like the statement, I will be using that one for sure, great motivational tool to use with employees that need a little incentive to stay focused…

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