Your route to the top: Make a graceful exit

Talk before you walk. It's usually line-manager behaviours, such as performance management and inspiration, that sap staff commitment. If your reason for leaving is that you feel undervalued and bored, a courageous conversation with your manager might change your mind.

Last Updated: 19 Oct 2010

Say it straight. You've decided to leave - now what? Asking questions or complaining indicate that you want to fix your problem, which you don't. Be upfront and say: 'I want to resign.'

Tell the truth. Explaining the emotions (as well as the facts) behind your decision makes it easier for colleagues to accept and understand it. It may be hard to hear, but your organisation will appreciate the opportunity to learn from your departure.

Control yourself. Don't blow your top if you've been dismissed or made redundant. Research shows that skilled self-regulators are deemed more trustworthy, fair and consistent by colleagues. Staying calm keeps your dignity (and bridges) intact, so resist the urge to shout at HR or badmouth the MD.

Make your mark. A humble CEO once said: 'I want to see the company as one of the great companies in the world some day, and be able to say: "I used to work there."' Identify your most successful project and use your final weeks to secure a new champion. If you leave a legacy that drives business success, your presence will be felt long after your leaving party.

Stay connected. Build your network and maintain links with the business by staying in touch with your closest colleagues. Use meetings to highlight your successes rather than gripe about the past and you'll be their first choice for collaboration.

Live and learn. During a large restructure, a global telecoms company planned time for employees to reflect on what they had learnt from the change. Write down three key things you have learnt from this experience. Remember them. Move on.

- The Mind Gym: Relationships is published by Little, Brown at £12.99 -

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