Leaving a job is never easy. Even if the professional feels bad in the company and is willing to do it, it doesn’t matter, for many the moment of sitting in front of the boss, looking him in the eye and saying “I’m leaving the company” chokes them. And much more so when the employee knows or senses that his superior is not going to take the resignation well.
something usual. A negative reaction to a resignation from a boss is relatively common, according to a recent article in the Harvard Business Review that looks at adverse responses to employee resignations. “Ideally, listening to our superior respond to our departure with unconditional support. […]. But they are human too, and that doesn’t always happen.”
Thus, the research has identified the five most common behaviors unfavorable to a resignation by a superior, and explains ways to deal with each of them professionally.
the boss gets angry. One of the most common reactions to a resignation is anger. If the boss does not expect it, and the resignation is a setback for the team’s work in the short term, the surprise and stress that it supposes can arouse negative feelings in the superior and take the employee’s departure as a betrayal that leaves the team in the lurch.
In this case, the authors of the article recommend staying calm, since in most cases it is a passionate reaction that, with time and reasoning, will calm down. Thus, they explain that the ideal is to remain friendly with the boss, leave him space to process the news and try to be understanding. Getting involved in a discussion full of reproaches can be very unpleasant and, in addition, close doors in the future for the professional.
Criticize the new company. Badmouthing the employee’s next destination is another common reaction, with comments like “no one is happy working there.” A situation that can lead the professional to respond, in turn, with the shortcomings that he has identified in the company in which he still works, which is a bad idea.
The authors recommend that the professional try to divert the conversation to avoid the subject or thank the boss for his concern and then reaffirm his decision and tell him that he considers it to be the best step for his career.
lower self esteem. Some superiors, upon hearing of the resignation, blame the employee for his weaknesses to try to dissuade them from their decision, whether they are real or not. In this case, the authors point out that such a reaction should actually serve to reaffirm the worker’s decision, since the superior is demonstrating, by acting in such an unprofessional manner, that he is not up to the task of directing teams.
When this situation occurs, the article points out that the professional should ask the boss to tell him what he thinks, then thank him and leave without saying anything about it.
Emotional blackmail. One of the most uncomfortable reactions is that of the boss who tries to make the professional feel guilty for his decision, with questions such as “are you aware of everything we have done for you?”. This situation is particularly complex because many professionals already feel guilty and somewhat insecure about leaving the company, so this kind of emotional blackmail can take a special toll on the employee.
The authors recommend that the professional let the boss know that he is aware of everything the company has done for him, thank him and explain that it was not an easy decision to make, but that he considered it the right thing for his career and that You will always be grateful to have been able to work for the company.
the counter offer. Finally, a common reaction that is not negative, but can make the professional uncomfortable if he does not expect it, is that the boss makes a counter offer. Therefore, it is advisable that the employee thinks, before informing the superior of the resignation, if the decision to go to another company is final or if there is still something that could make him stay. And, in the second case, it is convenient to think about the labor improvements necessary to desist from the resignation beforehand in order to be able to demand them all at the meeting.
leave doors open. All of these recommendations can be of help to face the communication of a resignation with greater security and to be prepared for uncomfortable situations. In addition, they also serve so that the professional knows what to expect and that the possible bad manners of the superior do not drag him into a completely unnecessary and counterproductive discussion.
Because, as another article in the Harvard Business Review explained, the smartest thing for both parties is to make the departure of an employee as friendly and comfortable as possible, since in the future the paths of the two may cross again and it is not convenient to lose the chance to win back a competent employee or get a good job because of a hot flash.
George is Digismak’s reported cum editor with 13 years of experience in Journalism