Sheryl Sandberg’s best, saddest advice for women who want raises

At a recent forum on expanding women’s economic opportunities, Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg highlighted the approach she thinks women should take when asking for a raise.

In short, according to Sandberg, it all comes down to “negotiating well.” But sadly, she says, that means something quite different for women than it does for men. While men are often rewarded for simply asking for what they want, she said, women have to take a different approach.

What does that mean for women in the workplace?

According to Sandberg, it means that women getting ahead in terms of salary and promotions must ask for what they want in a way that seems to benefit others — not just themselves.

Show how getting what you want can also help others

“I want to be clear, I’m about to give advice that I don’t want to give, because I don’t want these biases to exist,” Sandberg said, in response to a question about women entrepreneurs. “But the best way to get rid of these biases is to get women to negotiate well.”

Sandberg continued with ways women should structure their requests: “So I believe in this advice which is, if you are negotiating for a raise, and you are a man, you can walk in and say ‘I deserve this,’ that will not backfire on you. We know the data says this will backfire on a woman. So I think along with saying, ‘I deserve this,’ explaining that this is important for your performance, this will make you more effective as a team member.”

Overcoming stereotypes

As Sandberg says, notes Quartz at Work, this advice unfortunately draws on stereotypes that say women should be communal-minded, while men should take charge and lead.

However, she says, if it’s what’s needed to get ahead, then women should take heed — at least until broader societal change takes hold.

“Everyone being more communal would be a welcome change,” Sandberg says.