‘Leaving Well’ – The Commonly Forgotten Step
Many people have navigated the exciting, yet tricky terrain of switching jobs as they pursue their next steps and professional aspirations, but one of the commonly forgotten steps to consider as part of this process is how to leave the current job well.
Understandably, thinking about how to start the new job well is often the focus, but I think there’s huge value in considering how you leave the current job well too. It’s a powerful exercise and my coaching clients tell me they find this additional focus helpful, empowering and insightful.
Leaving is inevitable
For us to develop, there comes a point in all of our lives where we have to leave something; it could be; a job, a team, a role, a position, a company… but, in order for us to progress, leaving something behind is a natural step in the process. In my mind that doesn’t mean just shutting the door on your way out; rather there’s value in leaving well and experiencing the benefits of doing so.
What do I mean by ‘leaving well’?
I don’t just mean leaving on good terms. It’s so much more than this. Good terms can simply mean that ‘we haven’t fallen out’, whereas ‘leaving well’ is about; your pride, your integrity, your achievements, your legacy, your team, your relationships, and your future… There’s so much to learn from examining this.
The list is long and varied, and will also be personal, but here are some of the benefits associated with a conscious focus on leaving your current role well.
- It’s good for your reputation – people will remember how you left and it’s a small world – leaving well protects your reputation for the long term.
- It demonstrates integrity, commitment, and reliability – key leadership traits and something future employers are looking for.
- It enables you to leave with a legacy that you are proud of, can learn from, and can propel you forward in your new role.
- It helps nurture key relationships that you want to maintain beyond your exit from the company.
- It sets your team and colleagues up for success beyond your time in role, and enables them to easily build on everything you’ve created and invested time and energy in.
- And importantly, it allows you to leave with that ‘no regrets’ feeling, your head held high knowing you always gave it your best.
In summary, leaving well ensures a smooth transition, good professional working relationships to rely on in the future, and it be a great confidence booster as you move into your new role.
And, don’t forget the point that it is a really small world when it comes to work. Personally, I now have clients who used to be on my team – it’s important to always ensure you have your reputation and relationships in tact.
10 questions to think about
If you are considering leaving your role, or are already in your notice period, the following questions may be of help when thinking about how to leave well.
What does it mean to you to leave your role well? Think about this for you, your team, your colleagues, and the company. Keep your thinking as broad as possible. Make it your own.
In the time that you have remaining, what could you positively influence to be improved or different? Choosing things that are important to you makes it easier to remain motivated.
What will really set your team up for success following your departure, and how can you offer that to them? That could range from the formalities of a handover to some specific mentoring you could provide.
When you’ve left, what do you want the people you’ve worked with to say about you? Why is that important? How can you influence that now?
If there was a a lasting legacy from your time at the company, or in your role, what would that be? And what lessons are in that for the future?
What are your key lessons, insights and wisdom that you want to take with you into the next role? How will they help you?
What would you like to draw a line under and leave behind, in order to start afresh and maybe even turn over a new leaf in your new role?
What relationships do you want to maintain moving forward and how will you ensure you’ve taken the action to enable this?
Who would you like to offer your gratitude to and why? Taking the time to do this and being specific with your words of thanks can be a powerful act.
What suggestions for future improvements do you want to leave with the company, and how would be a constructive way to approach this?
Leaving well also helps you with starting well
The feedback I’ve received from clients who have done this work with me, have said that it is some of the most powerful work they’ve done, enabling them to leave with pride, great relationships in place and a support network to hand.
Taking time to work out your leaving well strategy also informs how you can start well in your new role too. The lessons and insights can play a crucial role in the formation of your initial plan and onward leadership approach.
I’ve written more about one aspect of starting your new role well in this blog here – all focused on how your new team are sussing you out – and how best to manage it.
Some final thoughts
Leaving well and starting well are increasingly common objectives for coaching support, but here’s an interesting twist.
I’m seeing it being funded by either the company the employee is leaving, or the one they are joining. I find that to be both fascinating and admirable.
Yes, that’s a company funding support for an employee when they won’t be the sole recipient of all of the benefits. I think it’s genius – and a real way to boost engagement, loyalty, motivation, and performance.
So, if you are considering a company change, and currently assuming you won’t get funding support for coaching, it might be worth checking that.
I can help
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