Elegant Exits: How to Resign as a Leader with Conviction, Dignity and Respect

Elegant Exits: How to Resign as a Leader with Conviction, Dignity and Respect

So you’ve accepted a new role that presents exciting opportunities for professional growth and development. It’s essential to leave your current position with grace, ensuring a smooth transition and maintaining positive relationships with colleagues.

In this blog post, we will explore key steps and best practices for resigning as a leader with dignity and respect, and how to deal with the potential counter-offer. Remember that if you are working with an executive recruitment agency for your new role, they will be able to support you in this process too.

Step 1: Prepare your resignation letter

Before announcing your decision, prepare a formal resignation letter that outlines your intentions. Keep it concise and professional, expressing gratitude for your opportunities and positive experiences in the role. Ensure the letter is well drafted, including your contact information and the date… but don’t send it just yet.

Step 2: Speak with your manager first

Out of respect and courtesy, inform your direct manager or supervisor of your decision before sharing the news more broadly. Explain your reasons for leaving and emphasise your gratitude for the opportunities you’ve been afforded. Be prepared to answer any questions they may have, and provide reassurance that you will support a smooth handover.

Naturally, this will likely be the first attempt to dissuade you from moving to the new role, so you need to remember the reasons for your decision, and the new opportunity you have accepted and have courage in your conviction.

Submit your formal resignation at this stage.

Step 3: Notify your team and colleagues

Once you’ve informed your manager, arrange a meeting with your team to announce your resignation. Be honest about your reasons for leaving whilst remaining professional, agree on the narrative where applicable, focus on the positives and express your appreciation for their hard work and support during your tenure. By addressing your team personally, you demonstrate respect and empathy, maintaining goodwill as you depart.

Step 4: Ensure a swift but smooth handover

Work closely with your manager and successor (if identified) to create a comprehensive handover plan. This should include key tasks, projects, deadlines, and stakeholder information. Be available to provide guidance, answer questions, and facilitate introductions to your network, ensuring that your successor is well-prepared to assume the role.

You do, however, need to balance this with the expectations of your new employer and new team, who will benefit from you being on board as soon as possible. Have conviction with a swift handover which is consistent with your decision to move on, but does enough to ensure that you have handed things over in an orderly way (or prepare a document to achieve this).

Preparing For, and Handling The Counter-Offer

When submitting your resignation, there’s a chance that your current employer may present a counteroffer in an attempt to retain you. While it may be flattering, it’s essential to handle the situation with tact and professionalism.

Here are some tips on how to reject a counteroffer gracefully:

a. Be prepared: Anticipate that a counteroffer may be presented and have a response ready. This will help you avoid being caught off-guard and allow you to respond in a composed manner.

b. Stay firm in your decision: Politely thank your employer for the counteroffer and express appreciation for their recognition of your value. However, reaffirm your decision to move on by explaining that you’ve carefully considered your options and believe that your new opportunity aligns better with your long-term goals and career aspirations.

c. Offer a diplomatic explanation: You don’t need to divulge every detail about your new role, but providing a general explanation of your reasons for leaving can help your employer understand your decision. This might include highlighting the growth opportunities, new challenges, or a change in industry focus that your new role presents.

d. Be respectful and empathetic: Acknowledge that your departure may create challenges for the organisation and express your willingness to support a smooth transition. By showing empathy and understanding, you can help to mitigate any potential feelings of frustration or disappointment.

By addressing a counteroffer with grace and poise, you can successfully navigate the delicate process of resigning while maintaining strong relationships with your current employer and colleagues.

Remember, you have decided to leave for a reason – so stick to your guns and enjoy your new opportunity!

CJPI Insights
CJPI Insights
CJPI Insights Editor

This post has been published by the CJPI Insights Editorial Team, compiling the best insights and research from our experts.

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