Here are 7 tips for telling your boss you’re leaving.
1. Express your gratitude. Thank your supervisor profusely for the opportunities that your current position has afforded you. Let’s face it: you probably wouldn’t have gotten a better gig had it not been for your successes at your current job.
2. Don’t apologize. You have nothing to be sorry for. Regardless of the time of year, current workflow, or staffing needs, the show will go on without you. Don’t apologize: This is business, not personal.
3. Stay composed. Avoid sarcasm, increasing your volume, or diverging from anything but professional decorum. This also means preparing for the fact that your soon-to-be former boss might lose her/his cool. What a sight that can be! Go out with class: keep your cool.
4. Don’t get caught up in “why games.”The only explanation that you need to give regarding your departure is “career advancement.” You are the only person responsible for managing your career. Don’t fall prey to 20 questions about why you are leaving. If you’ve made it this far, you’ve already decided that your current position is not a good fit. “Career advancement”: End of story.
5. Prepare an exit strategy.Take a list of your current responsibilities to the “I quit” meeting, noting key deadlines, contacts, and/or clients with whom you are working. If possible, provide suggestions for how and/or who might be able to take on these projects. This document can also take the overwhelming sting out of the process.
6. Focus on task. Usually, I advocate empathy and positive emotional connection, but this is not the place for emotion. Keep the conversation focused on task and business.
7. Provide an unambiguous departure date.Two weeks is acceptable in nearly every industry. Any longer is icing on the cake for your employer (but could potentially be uncomfortable for you).
Christopher R. Groscurth, Ph.D. is founder and principal consultant of BaRENaKED Communication (BNC). He is an expert on workplace communication, diversity, and positive organizational change. Chris started BNC to help business leaders leverage what social scientists have learned about human engagement and workplace communication.He blogs and answers questions about workplace communication at http://www.barenakedcommunication.com