Friday, November 14, 2014

The Feelings of a soon-to-be Relieved Manager

Over the last few days / weeks, I have been wondering why there is little to nothing written about what managers feel when they quit their jobs. Most research and articles on people quitting jobs list the top reasons for leaving from a person’s point of view as an individual, such as bad managers, lack of recognition, better work environment, challenging role, etc. 

But what about how people managers feel?

So, here I go once again, jumping into something that I don’t know much about, but just having to express myself, much like getting swept along by flood waters!

What do people managers feel when they quit?  What did I (and some of my colleagues and friends) feel when they quit?

1.    Guilt overwhelming Guilt! Whatever your race or religion or country you have worked in, the chances are that as a people manager, when you quit, you feel guilt. You are moving on, going to a new and exciting place that you believe to be, a better place.  A place where you will learn from more challenges, dream about more recognition, get paid better, have a boss who will forever behave as they have when wooing you at the interview stage, etc. But, there is still the feeling of guilt. You are after all leaving your team behind.  You have shared in the good and bad for many moons and now they cannot share in your happiness and anticipation of the good things to come. So how can you benefit when your team does not? That question, above all else, I believe, causes the feeling of guilt.

2.    And then there is the Fear.  The fear of the unknown, the fear of leaving / letting go of what is comfortable, known, & predictable (however bad it may be, it is still predictable). This fear starts sometimes as-early-as when you need to tell your boss that you are quitting, to as-late-as the day you join the new organization. For me, one of the most difficult things to do has been telling my team that I am leaving them; leaving them to go on to better things and leaving them to manage the boss / culture / work that I myself did not want to do much longer or even stand to do much longer. This is the fear of failure, fear that the team will / can fail without me and this failure will reflect on my capability as a manager, the fear that I may really not be needed by my team. 

3.    “Take me with you!” Any good people manager will face the sticky situation of being asked by a team member to “take me along”, find them a role in the new organization.  This question could also be “Should I continue to work here?”  While still working for an organization, albeit on notice, should you as a manager encourage people to leave with you or soon after you? Is it even OK to acknowledge such a request? How can you respond to these questions and not be torn between loyalties? Whatever you do, whatever you say, you will be disloyal to either the organization or your team member, leaving you conflicted.    

4.    Dealing with others’ Emotions: Along with your own emotions of loss and anticipation are the emotions of your team.  Their emotions will be reflected on their faces and in their behavior.  You could be the most objective (or heartless person) in the world, but your teams’ emotions are bound to affect you and in turn change the way you behave with them and the organization at large. Worse still is when you are not “allowed” to tell your team till the very last moment and you face not just their shock but also their ire, knowing that you have let them down by not being honest with them. This can be traumatic for all.

 But as I write this, and I reflect on teams I have left, I realize that whatever I felt, it is all now gone.  I learnt many lessons and am wiser (the subject of another post). My team mates, were then, and are now, my friends.  I am still in touch with them (well, most of them).  I still learn from them.  Some have grabbed the opportunity that my leaving gave and have grown into larger more challenging roles with alacrity.

As I get ready to leave another team I know that they will be OK, because they are OK now.

I am not indispensable

We are all dancing in the rain……

No comments:

Post a Comment