July 28, 2017

Moving On: How Good Managers Resign From Their Jobs


Managing a team isn’t easy. There are many skills that a good leader needs to possess in order to manage a team successfully. In fact, having a bad manager is one of the biggest reasons employees state when asked why they resigned from a job, according to this recent Gallup poll.

So it’s no surprise that losing a high-quality, skilled manager can cause confusion and sometimes even fear among employees.

There are many reasons why good managers resign from their jobs. Managers with excellent track records are very likely to be recruited by other companies looking to solidify their management. Opportunities are plentiful for people who have proven to be great corporate leaders, so seeing a manager leave an organization and move on to another one for either better compensation or to discover new career opportunities shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone.

However, the best managers will know how to leave a job the right way and handle that transition properly.

Make the Announcement in Person

When employees leave, they usually break the news through an email or text message saying something like: “Hey everyone, it’s been great working with you. Starting next week I am moving on to another job. Hope to see you around!”

But as a manager, you have a greater responsibility to make the announcement in a more personal way. Losing a leader can come as a shock to employees. They will certainly have questions about their future with the company, especially if they have been thriving with you at the helm and have enjoyed working with you.

Breaking the news via email and bolting the next day is not the way to do it. Show respect for your coworkers and make the announcement in person. Gather your team and make an announcement face to face.

By doing this, you’ll avoid having your employees analyze your email or text message and potentially feeding into the dreaded rumor mill. Switching managers can be very stressful for employees, which is why it’s incredibly important to make sure that you are doing everything you can to maintain transparency and avoid confusion. Announcing your resignation in person is the best place to start.


Field Questions

The main reason for giving the announcement in person is so that you will be able to open up the floor and take questions immediately. It’s natural for your employees to want to discuss what’s happening.

They’ll want to know why you are leaving, who’s going to replace you, what the move means for them and a bunch of other details related to their future’s with the company and what they can expect once you are no longer leading them.

Of course, you may not know everything about the plans your higher-ups have for your replacement or what is going to happen next with your team, but sharing a few details about what you do know can help your employees feel more confident about their own future.

That’s why it’s also a good idea to speak to upper management about their plans right after you’ve handed in your resignation and performed your exit interview. It’s your responsibility to give your team as much information as possible in order to keep them comfortable and make sure that morale doesn’t swiftly fall off at the end of your tenure. You owe it to them and you owe it to your company as well to make sure that business proceeds as usual once you’ve made your exit.

Provide Reassurance

When leaders resign, employees often find themselves in a confusing situation that often comes with a good dose of fear and uneasiness. In these situations, worst case scenarios tend to pop into their heads first. After all, this is their livelihood and anything that can potentially affect it is going to be a cause for some concern.

They’ll probably be doing a lot of wondering right off the bat.

“Is the company going under?”

“Who else is resigning?”

“Are layoffs coming?”

“Am I next?”

You need to do your best to let them know that everything’s going to be fine and that they don’t need to worry (if that is, in fact, the case). Your resignation puts your employees in a very vulnerable place. You need to do your best to try and assure them that everything going to be fine after your departure.

Be Honest Without Burning Bridges

You should be honest while answering your team’s questions. But you should also be careful because there is a big difference between being honest and being unprofessional. This is especially true if the split between you and the company is not an amicable one.

If that is the case, a good manager will be able to cast any grudge he or she may have with the company aside for the good of the employees.

If you are leaving because you were unhappy with your situation in the company, there’s a good chance that your employees noticed it and were fully aware of your state of mind and reasons for leaving. That doesn’t mean that you should be getting into the gory details with them.

Nothing good can come from badmouthing the company you are leaving. All it can do is potentially make life harder for your team once you are gone. Even if you’re not leaving on a positive note, you should try to keep up appearances and avoid burning bridges not just for the sake of your future career and reputation, but for the team you’re leaving behind as well.


Give a Proper Farewell

Regardless of how many issues you might have had with management or even within your team, leaving without saying goodbye is not a good look for you. Leaving angry will look petty and unprofessional no matter what.

Everything good you ever did will be overshadowed by the fact you never made an effort to say goodbye properly. Most of all, don’t leave without thanking your team and wishing them all the best of luck. Making sure that you leave on a high note is of utmost importance if you want to resign as a manager in a professional and positive way. Make the time to shake hands and give out hugs on your last day and be sure to thank everyone for being a part of your career.

Remember, regardless of why you are leaving, all of the people you are leaving behind have helped shape you and make you a better manager. And that’s something that’s important enough to recognize and appreciate when all is said and done.